California Insurance Commissioner

(Sacramento, CA – Insurance News 360) – Commissioner Jones blasts Trump Administration rule interfering access to abortion, creating confusion that leads to loss of insurance

On Jan. 4, California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones sent a letter to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services opposing the proposed rule “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Exchange Program Integrity.”

This proposed rule pertains to policies through the exchange, and would require insurers to send separate bills each month for consumers who enroll in health insurance policies that include abortion coverage. The bill would cover the portion of the premium charged for abortion services. State law requires that health insurance policies include abortion coverage.

In part, Commissioner Jones’ letter reads:

“Californians have an inalienable right to privacy secured by the California Constitution, and that right includes the right to choose whether to bear a child or choose to obtain an abortion. The State of California is forbidden from denying or interfering with someone exercising that right.”

“I urge you to withdraw the amendments to the Segregation of Funds for Abortion Services federal rule (45 CFR § 156.280) found in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Exchange Program Integrity proposed rule. The proposed amendments to 45 CFR § 156.280 serve no purpose other than interfering with access to abortion, and have the potential to create substantial consumer confusion, which could result in cancelation of health coverage generally for some individuals. In California alone this ill-conceived proposed regulation would affect more than 1.3 million consumers enrolled in qualified health plans (QHPs) through California’s Exchange, Covered California.”

“The proposed amendment to the Segregation of Funds for Abortion Services rule found in the Exchange Program Integrity proposed rule is unnecessary and extraordinarily burdensome to consumers and health insurers.”

“It is both absurd and punitive to single out this one medical service and require a separate bill and separate payment be made for this coverage. In addition to inappropriately interfering with a woman’s right to abortion coverage, this rule will likely result in the cancellation of the health insurance policies of consumers who fail to understand these burdensome rules.”

“The proposed changes to 45 CFR § 156.280 are entirely arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with statute, and come with unacceptable costs to both consumers and QHP issuers. California Department of Insurance strongly opposes the proposed changes to the existing language of § 156.280, because these changes will harm consumers, issuers, and health insurance markets. This proposed regulation, a burdensome federal government intrusion, serves no legitimate purpose and should be withdrawn.”

Source: California Insurance Department.

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