Health care reform in California reverses position on abortion insurance

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Insurers in the state will no longer be able to sell plans that limit or exclude coverage for the procedure.

Among the latest parts of the health care reform in California has been a regulation that states that insurers will no longer be able to sell policies that include limitations or exclusions of abortion coverage, according to the administration of Governor Jerry Brown.

This represents a complete reversal of the position that had previously been held in California.

The Department of Managed Health Care has now put out letters to seven different insurance companies that stated that it had approved this type of language in their policies by error. The letter explained that this health care reform impacts insurance products “covering a very small fraction of California health plan enrollees.” It also confirmed that the constitution of the state and “multiple California judicial decisions” prohibits policies with such limitations or exclusions as it is a discrimination against a woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

The letter was two pages long and explained the full extent of these health care reforms to allowable policies.California Health Care Reform

The director of the department, Michelle Rouillard, said in the letter that “All health plans must treat maternity services and legal abortion neutrally.” This decision regarding abortion insurance coverage in health plans became effective as of last Friday.

This health insurance issue has been highly controversial and it was brought into the spotlight, last year, when Loyola Marymount University and Santa Clara University administrations – both Jesuit schools – chose to remove their health insurance coverage for elective abortions. Faculty and staff spoke out against the decision in both of those schools.

When this recent health care reform regarding abortion coverage became effective, a statement was immediately released by The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, saying that the schools in question “have a right and a duty to uphold the tenets of their faith in everything they do.” Within the statement, Bill Donohue explained that “Paying for abortions is in direct conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church.” It is certain that this change will be a matter of ongoing debate.

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