Obamacare Abortion Resources
How do I use this site?
This site is designed to help you determine if a health insurance plan covers elective abortion before you make this important decision. To find out if a health insurance plan covers elective abortion, click on your state on the interactive map on the Homepage. This will show a summary of all the insurance carriers offering individual and family plans on your state (or federally-facilitated) exchange, and whether they cover elective abortion.
If you find an insurance carrier marked “Unknown,” this means that we have searched their publicly available online documents and contacted them, but still have no clear information on their coverage. We encourage you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you find any additional or conflicting information regarding your health insurance plan’s abortion coverage policy.
You can also find related news articles on abortion coverage in Obamacare specific to your state below your state summary.
How does Obamacare subsidize and promote insurance coverage of abortion?
Obamacare created a premium assistance credit program to help people in certain income ranges to buy insurance. This program is estimated to cost $855 billion in taxpayer dollars by 2024, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s April 2014 estimate of total costs from 2015 through 2024. Under Obamacare, insurance plans sold on the exchanges can be purchased with these federal subsidies even if the subsidized plan includes elective abortion. Efforts to prevent this unfortunate outcome were thwarted when the Stupak-Pitts amendment to Obamacare was removed from the legislation before it passed in 2010.
Other avenues by which Obamacare promotes insurance coverage of abortion on demand are: Medicaid expansion and the “preventive services mandate” that requires coverage of some abortion-inducing drugs. Here are some additional resources explaining abortion funding in Obamacare:
“Issue Analysis: Abortion Funding and Obamacare” (June 2014)
“Taxpayer-Funding of Abortion in Obamacare” (Jan. 2014)
Additionally, the Obama administration awarded over $655,000 in taxpayer grants in 2013 to the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, so that its employees could act as “navigators” in assisting consumers purchasing health insurance.
What is a Multi-State Plan (MSP) and why do these plans matter?
A multi-state plan (MSP) is a health insurance plan issued by a private carrier that is under contract to the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Under Obamacare, OPM is required to establish a network of multi-state plans with at least two plans offered on each state exchange. Obamacare only requires OPM to ensure that one multi-state plan in each state does not include elective abortion coverage. There is no prohibition on abortion coverage in other plans, unless a state itself has enacted legislation barring such coverage from insurance plans.
Because Obamacare requires that MSPs be phased in gradually over a four-year period ending in 2017, the states that do not yet have MSPs or a state law barring elective abortion from the exchange may not have any plan available for purchase that excludes elective abortion through the exchange. According to the 2014 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), this lack of any alternative to a plan offering abortion on demand affected Americans in five states: Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
In 2015, Connecticut was added to the Multi-State Plan Program, and introduced new MSPs that did not cover abortion on demand. For 2016, Rhode Island and New Jersey will also have new plans that exclude elective abortion from coverage.
How many states have Multi-State Plans (MSPs)?
For 2016, 32 states and the District of Columbia have Multi-State Plans. Alabama is new to the MSP Program for 2016. Four states have been dropped from the MSP Program in 2016: Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, and Utah.
Obamacare requires that MSPs be available in every state by 2017.
For a complete list of the MSPs available by state, visit the Office of Personnel Management’s website.
Where can I find more information about plans that cover abortion-inducing drugs and devices?
If you are viewing plans on your state exchanges, you may see a link to other detailed documents, in particular, a drug formulary. This lists each drug that the plan covers. If it is not provided on the exchange, you may find the formulary on the insurance carrier’s own website.
Plan documents may state that abortion-inducing or “abortifacient” drugs are excluded from coverage; however, this can be misleading. The criteria the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses for labeling drugs as an abortifacient are limited to instances where a new life has already implanted in the uterus and is dislodged and do not include when the drug may prevent an already fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. That is, the egg and sperm have already united, forming a genetically distinct and unique being, but the drug prevents its implantation, causing it to die.
For more information on how emergency contraceptives can have abortion-inducing mechanisms of action (MOA), please visit:
I thought that no federal tax dollars could be used for abortion?
In 2009, President Obama told a joint session of Congress that “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion.”He signed an Executive Order in March 2010 promising this result but he did not include all of the language from the proposed Stupak-Pitts amendment, which would have prohibited federal funds from covering abortion or any costs of any health plan that covers abortion. As implemented, the premium tax credits established by Obamacare may be used to subsidize the costs of health care plans that cover abortion, and the GAO found that in 2014 a total of 1,036 insurance plans that cover elective abortion were available for purchase with federal subsidies on the health care exchanges. Moreover, senior Obama administration officials acknowledge that the Executive Order was simply utilized to pass Obamacare, and that it is non-binding and revocable.
I thought health care plans were supposed to keep money for abortion separate from other premiums?
Obamacare allows elective abortion coverage to be included in the health insurance package purchased with federal subsidies. It simultaneously requires a separate abortion surcharge that health insurance companies are to collect from insured individuals and families and deposit in a fund to be used to pay for elective abortions. This scheme represents a complete departure from the longstanding principle found in the Hyde amendment and governing other federally subsidized health programs – that no federal dollars go toward a health plan that includes elective abortion.
Obamacare created a billing arrangement to supposedly keep federal dollars from going toward abortion coverage, but this arrangement is largely inoperative. The segregation of funds provision requires that two “separate” payments be collected -one for the general monthly premium and a second surcharge to be used exclusively for abortion on demand - but the GAO report found in September 2014 the administration reinterpreted this billing arrangement for plans sold in 2014.
Instead of requiring the two separate payments, the Department of Health and Human Services told insurance issuers to simply itemize the abortion surcharge. GAO found that, in fact, none of the issuers interviewed for that report billed abortion separately or itemized the abortion surcharge. One issuer reported to GAO that it did not even know about the requirement to file an abortion segregation plan with its state department of health insurance.
Taxpayer dollars are still free to flow to plans that cover abortion. Because Americans cannot consistently determine whether their plan includes abortion on demand, they may be paying an invisible abortion surcharge without even knowing it. Even if they are not buying such a plan themselves, billions of dollars in tax subsidies are flowing under Obamacare to plans that do cover elective abortion.
Are any health care plans actually using segregated accounts for abortion premiums?
For 2014, according to the GAO report, none of the entities interviewed that billed insurance for qualified health plans on the exchanges either itemized abortion on the premium bill or issued a separate bill that clearly named its purpose for abortion. We will update this section for 2016 as we receive new information.
How has the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) responded to concerns about abortion coverage in health care plans?
In October of 2013, Rep. John Shimkus (Illinois) asked former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to provide a list of the insurers in the exchange that exclude abortion. She responded, “I think we can do that;” however, she did not provide any list.
In December of 2013, Rep. Shimkus again questioned former Secretary Sebelius about the continued lack of abortion insurance transparency. She responded that consumers should check the Summaries of Benefits and Coverage (SBC), saying, “It is available”; however, as of the date of this writing (November 2014), most SBCs still did not include abortion coverage information.
In March of 2014, Rep. Andy Harris (MD) asked former HHS Secretary Sebelius if abortion coverage should be transparent and to clarify whether the abortion surcharge is required to be separate. She responded by shifting blame to the states about their interpretation of the billing procedures, though her role as Secretary of HHS requires her to exercise broad oversight of even state exchanges.
In August of 2014, Rep. Diane Black (TN) and other Members of Congress sent a letter asking the Department for detailed information about compliance with the abortion rules in Obamacare. There has been no response.
In October of 2014, new HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell was asked whether insurance plans would be more transparent about abortion coverage for the 2015 enrollment period. She said, “We’ll have to see.”
Are there any options besides purchasing an Obamacare health insurance plan?
Because of the individual mandate in Obamacare, Americans are required to purchase health coverage, or pay a tax penalty, the amount of which increases in 2016. For more information, please visit:Fee & Exemptions Overview (Healthcare.gov).
You may also qualify for an exemption from the individual mandate to purchase health coverage. To check whether this applies to you, please visit:Exemptions from the fee (Healthcare.gov). Corporations may also self-insure.
If you are dissatisfied with your state insurance choices, you may consider a healthcare sharing ministry. While healthcare sharing does not fix the problem of abortion funding in Obamacare, it does provide an option that respects conscience and moral values. These ministries do not provide insurance as defined by law, but rather operate on a system of voluntary contributions to share medical costs among their members. Healthcare sharing ministries are exempt from the individual mandate of Obamacare. These healthcare sharing ministries do not support abortion in any way and provide an alternative to the state and federal exchanges. For more information on healthcare sharing, please visit the below resources:
Are there any legislative proposals to fix Obamacare’s abortion-funding provisions?
Two legislative bills have been introduced to fix Obamacare’s abortion funding and lack of transparency, namely the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2014 (H.R. 7) and the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2013 (H.R. 3279). H.R. 7 was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) and passed the House of Representatives in 2013 with bipartisan support. The Senate version of the bill is S. 946, introduced by Roger Wicker (R-MS). The Senate has not voted on this bill since its introduction in 2013.
For 2015, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Full Disclosure Act (collectively H.R. 7), was re-introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Chris Smith on January 21, 2015. On January 22, the day of the March for Life and the 42nd anniversary of the passage of Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, the House passed H.R. 7. The Senate version was re-introduced as S. 582 by Sen. Wicker for the new Congress on February 26, 2015. It has not yet been voted on as of March 19, 2015.
Other Key Documents:
HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGES: Coverage of Non-excepted Abortion Services by Qualified Health Plans, published September 15, 2014 by the Government Accountability Office (GAO)