While abortion is a medical procedure, it is also a moral issue for many Americans. Although the 1973 decision in the landmark case Roe v. Wade legally extended the privacy rights of the 14th Amendment to cover a woman’s right to have an abortion, the topic of whether or not it is morally right to abort an unborn fetus is still hotly debated to this day. Further, there is some contention about whether or not health insurance policies can or should cover such procedures. It may be an issue of some importance to those that find themselves inconveniently in the family way. Will your insurance cover the cost of abortion should you elect to have one or should you find that you need one?
The answer is not a simple one. Some insurance providers cover this type of procedure and others do not. Federal law does not require that insurance providers cover abortions, and in some states, there are laws in place that make it illegal for insurance carriers to cover such procedures. There are, of course, exceptions, especially where federally funded health insurance coverage is concerned. For example, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, states that abortions cannot be paid for with federal funding except in specific cases, including rape, incest, or danger to the life of the mother. That being said, health insurance sold through the exchanges do not necessarily cover these exceptions – the law only states that they can if providers so choose.
Several states have passed laws decreeing that insurance plans sold through exchanges are not allowed to cover such procedures, in some cases even if the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. While women are still allowed by law to proceed with abortions, they cannot hope to get the procedure covered by health insurance in these states. What’s worse, states may even bar insurance providers outside of state exchanges from paying for abortions, even if it is their policy to do so otherwise.
Because Medicare is a federally funded program, it is possible that abortions could be covered, supposing your state of residence has no laws banning such coverage. However, it may only be available in the case of “medically necessary” abortions, i.e. those necessary to protect the physical or mental health of the mother. It simply depends on the laws of each state and what they’re willing to contribute to Medicare from state funds.
While some women are lucky enough to be able to receive health insurance coverage for abortions, many are not, either because their insurance policy doesn’t provide such coverage or because their state of residence does not allow insurance to cover the procedure. You will simply have to look into applicable laws in your state to see if coverage is legal, and from there you will have to see if you can find a policy, either through the state exchange or via private insurance provider, that offers this coverage. Even though it has been more than 40 years since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, the inflammatory nature of the issue continues to make it difficult for women to receive insurance coverage for this medical procedure.
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