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Does Michigan's Law Restricting Insurance Coverage for Abortions Go Too Far?

Health insurance in Michigan no longer covers abortions – women have to purchase a separate "rider."

screen grab from WDIV report.
screen grab from WDIV report.
A Michigan law requiring abortions to be covered by an add-on insurance policy went into affect this week, UPI reported.

The law's proponents say that it allows those opposed to abortion to choose policies that do not cover it, critics contend the law requires women to predict a rape will happen to them and to buy the add-on to cover the possibility of an abortion.

Mlive.com noted that aside from only allowing women to purchase insurance that covers abortions as a separate "rider" insurers were planning to only offer the plan for groups and not individuals.

The law also does not allow private insurance companies to offer policies that include some reproductive procedures, such as D and C's which are done after miscarriages, WDIV TV reported.

"Women will still have the right to choose because they can choose to purchase a rider, which will cover elective abortions," WDIV quoted state Rep. Nancy Jenkins (R- Clayton).

Does Michigan's law restricting insurance coverage for abortions go too far?

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cookiepro2 March 17, 2014 at 03:40 PM
Paul C., I am puzzled as to how your idea of everyone just paying for the particular insurance they need would in practice work. For instance, should women be able to opt out of plans that would include prostate care? Generally, better rates are obtained in group plans where no such distinctions are made, that's the way it's always worked. If an employer self-funds health care for its employees (which many large corporations do) are you as an employee going to dictate how it administers its plan (e.g., don't cover this, do cover this, offer me an individual plan that does not violate my moral beliefs)...I think said employer would show one the door.
Paul Chotkowski March 17, 2014 at 06:01 PM
@ cookiepro2 would you be so kind as to give me the courtesy of your full and true name? I find that civil discourse is greatly facilitated when I know to whom I am responding. Short answer Yes if you don’t want the coverage you should not be required by the State to purchase the coverage. Your comment appears to come from an “employer sponsored” plan bais. I would eliminate the tax preference for employer sponsored plans thereby eliminating the incentive to grant compensation via this tax preferred benefit. IMHO doing so would eventually lead to a decoupling of health insurance and employment in favor of a freer market not to a single payer Government run system. Once the tax preference is eliminated, we can move to a more tax neutral system that requires [about the only mandate I support] community rating. Unless one allows Healthcare Providers the ability to pick and choose who the will treat or not treat [hospitals in particular], we are forcing a “community rated” treatment system so the payment system must also be Community Rated. It also would not hurt if Medicare and Medicaid paid the “true fully loaded cost” of treatment and a “reasonable” profit thereby eliminating the incentive to shift costs on to private payers, but I digress. Second to your point of group plans and group rating, this is just another form of the State picking winners and losers. If a particular groups experience is better than the “community average” than those who are allowed into the group receive a preferential rate. Those outside the advantage group pay a higher rate because of their lack of “membership” in the favored group. At its heart it is no different that young people paying for older or sick enrollees in Obama Care. You appear to imply that slanting the playing field is ok so long as it advantages you [free or discounted birth control pills, abortifacients, abortions, etc]. I would prefer a level playing field not managed by the State. This leveled field would then be the base upon which we as a society decide what kind and how much charity wish to give to the poor. Under the current system the government coerces contributions from Makers at the point of a gun in the form of taxes or regulatory mandates and redistributes this plunder to Takers. In summary I should get to decide what kind of insurance I purchase and the insurance company gets to decided if they wish to underwrite the policy and at what cost. We as a society get to decide what level / amount of health care we give to the poor as charity [not an entitlement], see the Hyde Amendment. There are limits in all things and there should be a limit to charity. As Benjamin Franklin said “I am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it.”
cookiepro2 March 18, 2014 at 02:31 PM
Getting back to the matter at hand which is the law passed by Michigan's legislators (and vetoed last year by Michigan's conservative Republican governor) there are several problems with it, not the least of which is a person who may want the rider will find it not available if they are purchasing an individual plan. Seven insurance companies ARE offering the rider to small and large group employer plans. This would necessitate asking the employee if they want the rider, which presents a privacy concern. For example, suppose there is is a couple with genetic concerns about their family planning who may opt for an abortion (their CHOICE, not anyone else's business) they now need to let their boss know about it. A sign of how little savings, if any, is to be gotten from separating out this coverage is the cost of the rider 1 to 32 cents/month, less than the cost of a stamp, it prompts the question of whether it is worth the administrative overhead, and where does the cost of administrative overhead go? Back into everyone's premium. Why are we seeking to complicate a burdened and troubled health care industry even more? For those with objections to abortions possibly funded with taxpayer dollars, that has already been taken care of; no abortions under Medicaid or on any plans offered on the Marketplace. Many states also restrict abortion for their public employees (with exceptions for rape, incest and fetal impairment, something MI legislators failed to allow for in this law, btw). Michigan legislators by passing this law affecting the PRIVATE insurance market (no taxpayer dollars) are giving a special interest group a warm fuzzy feeling at the expense of us all. Figures for 2012 show that only 3.3 % of abortions were covered by private insurance (the individual got coverage through insurance premiums that THEY paid for), the vast majority, over 95% were paid out-of-pocket. So this law is written to go after that 3.3% and have a big showy public debate, and appear as heroes in their minds. If RTL really wanted to reduce abortions, they could have concentrated on contraceptive education instead of lobbying money. More info here: http://www.mlive.com/lansing-news/index.ssf/2014/03/7_michigan_insurers_to_offer_a.html

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