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House Bill Would Require Health Plans To 'Prominently' Disclose Abortion Coverage

House Bill Would Require Health Plans To 'Prominently' Disclose Abortion Coverage

October 11, 2013 — Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) on Wednesday introduced a bill (HR 3279) that would require health plans offered through the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) insurance marketplaces to inform consumers whether they cover abortion services, the Washington Times reports (Howell, Washington Times, 10/9).

The ACA does not prohibit abortion coverage and lets insurers determine whether they will offer it. However, the law requires health plans to segregate money collected for abortion coverage from other premiums (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/16).

The new bill, called the Abortion Insurance Disclosure Act, states that abortion coverage offered by health plans in the insurance marketplaces must be "disclosed to enrollees at the time of enrollment in the plan" and "prominently displayed in any marketing or advertising materials" (Kasperowicz, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 10/10).

The bill also would require health plans to disclose whether they impose a surcharge to cover the cost of abortion coverage (Washington Times, 10/9).

Comments From Supporters

The bill has about 70 supporters in the House. Smith said, "Americans have a right to know upfront and with full transparency when they are purchasing a plan that subsidizes the killing of unborn children." He added, "Even the most ardent advocate of abortion should embrace full disclosure."

Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) -- the bill's only Democratic co-sponsor and Smith's co-chair on the Pro-Life Caucus -- said, "There is a longstanding principle in our country that the federal government does not subsidize abortions." According to Lipinski, "[U]nder Obamacare, taxpayer money under the guise of federal subsidies will be paying for insurance that covers elective abortion" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 10/10).