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Analysis Finds Abortion Coverage Varies Widely by State Marketplace Plans Under ACA

January 25, 2016 — Abortion coverage included in health care plans sold through the Affordable Care Act's (PL 111-148) health insurance marketplaces varies widely by state, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, theInternational Business Times reports.

Insurance plans sold through the ACA's marketplaces are required to cover 10 essential health benefits, not including abortion. Federal law does not mandate that any plan provide abortion coverage, but every marketplace by next year will be required to offer at least one plan excluding abortion coverage.

According to the International Business Times, the cost of abortion care in the United States ranges from several hundred dollars to more than $1,650.

Key Findings

The analysis found 25 states either prohibit abortion coverage for marketplace plans or only cover the procedure in limited circumstances. Of those states, two -- Louisiana and Tennessee -- do not have any exemptions and 11 only have exemptions for rape, incest or threat to the woman's life. Twelve of those 25 states cover abortion under narrower exemptions.

In addition, six state marketplaces that do not ban abortion coverage currently lack any plan that includes abortion. Those states are Delaware, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, West Virginia and Wyoming. Meanwhile, the analysis found that even in states that permitted abortion coverage, access to those plans and their availability varied by county.

The analysis also found that about 10 million women ages 15 to 49 in the United States did not have insurance in 2014. Of those women, roughly 2.3 million qualified for federal subsidies to help cover the cost of a plan purchased in the marketplace. However, 62% of those qualified women would not have been able to access a plan that included abortion coverage beyond rape, incest or life endangerment (Whitman,International Business Times, 1/21).