ACLU To Question Insurance Providers on Impact of Kan. Abortion Insurance Law

January 12, 2012 — The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday filed notice in federal court stating that it plans to question Kansas insurance providers about the effect of a new state law that prohibits insurance coverage of abortion services, the AP/Columbus Republic reports (AP/Columbus Republic, 1/11).

The measure, which took effect on July 1, prohibits insurance plans from covering abortion care unless the procedure is needed to save a woman's life; it does allow insurers to offer stand-alone policies for abortion coverage. It also bans the sale of abortion coverage through health insurance exchanges that will be established under the federal health reform law (PL 111-148).

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri in August 2011 filed suit to block the law (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/17/11). In September, U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown declined to issue a temporary injunction to block the law while the lawsuit continues. He noted that ACLU failed to prove that the measure "actually has the effect of creating a substantial obstacle to obtaining abortions" (Women's Health Policy Report, 9/30/11).

ACLU said Tuesday that it plans to ask for information on abortion riders offered by insurers, the law's effect on premiums, the number of abortion claims filed before the law's passage and whether the companies pool abortion rider premiums with other income. The group will be hearing from executives at UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and Coventry Health Care of Kansas (AP/Columbus Republic, 1/11).