The state of Connecticut took a promising step forward and declared abortion to be an “essential health benefit” for purposes of insurance coverage, meaning the procedure will be provided for in the health exchange the state is creating under the Affordable Care Act.
This issue is favorably resolved for all women now in Connecticut,” said Jennifer Jaff, executive director of the group Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness and a member of an advisory committee of the Insurance Exchange Health Plan. “Stripping women of elective abortions is not a tenable option.
Under the health care reform bill, starting in 2014 all health plans across the country must cover certain essential health benefits, and each state gets to determine how far those minimum levels of coverage reach. In Connecticut every private health insurance plan already covers elective abortions, but the federal employee plan, which many state exchange policies are being modeled after, does not.
Predictably anti-choice groups are upset by the move, arguing that by requiring insurance plans cover abortions the state is compelling someone to pay for something to which they object. Of course, that’s the problematic nature of group risk. Furthermore, there is no state law that requires residents to purchase the essential benefits package, as does the federal law.
It’s a big win for women not just because now all needed abortions will be covered by insurance, but because in passing the measure unanimously those on the Connecticut health panel made it clear that they understand that abortion is at its most fundamental the possible outcome of any pregnancy which means it makes good public health and good economic sense to make sure it’s safely available and completely affordable.
Photo from markhillary via flickr.