State Officials: Insurers in California Cannot Limit Abortion Coverage


In letters sent Friday to two insurance giants—Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente—California officials said that it is against state law for insurers to opt out of comprehensive coverage of abortion, “a basic health care service.”

The letters, obtained by San Francisco Chronicle writer Bob Egelko, were sent to both insurance providers in response to the companies’ decisions to offer plans that only include coverage for “medically necessary” abortions.

Both insurance companies had sold plans to two Catholic universities in California that significantly limited coverage of abortion. Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles had already changed its insurance plans to not cover certain kinds of abortion. The changes to the Santa Clara University policy were set to take effect in 2015. Both universities have more than 1,000 employees.

According to Egelko, the letters, sent by the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), an agency tasked with approving all insurance plans in the state, say that “abortion is a basic health care service,” and that “the California Constitution prohibits health plans from discriminating against women who choose to terminate a pregnancy. Thus, all health plans must treat maternity services and legal abortion neutrally.”

The DMHC recently decided to review its initial decision to allow Anthem and Kaiser to limit their policies for the colleges. A spokesperson for the DMHC told RH Reality Check that it was “currently engaged in an in-depth analysis of the issues surrounding coverage for abortion services under California law. … Once complete, the results of this analysis will inform the DMHC’s position moving forward.”

Since 1975, state law has required that all health insurance plans cover all “medically necessary” services. In its review, the DMHC found that insurers cannot lawfully distinguish between “elective” and medically necessary abortion, thereby requiring their coverage in all cases.

Earlier this month, abortion access advocates sent a letter to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown asking him to reverse the insurers’ cutbacks to abortion services.

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  • fiona64

    Yep. The CA government recognizes that it has no business practicing medicine without a license and leaves such decisions to be made by women and their physicians.

  • Max

    Yup Ca. alright .The capital of the highest rate of Rehab and plastic surgery .sounds like their priorities are out of order . Only a matter of time for the fate of this state.

    • cjvg

      And florida has the highest rate of pain clinics and hip replacements what is your point?

      Besides you are a bit off there, but don’t let reality or facts get in your way. Ah what am I saying reality, fact, science or medical knowledge never gets in the way of a good anti-choice rant.

      take a long, hard look at the following statistics:

      In California, there are over 5.5 million men and women who could be classified as binge drinkers.

      Based on per capita data, the state of Hawaii has the largest number of crystal meth users in the country.

      Although national figures are on the decline, the number of deaths related to cocaine addiction and cocaine abuse in Texas rose from 223 in 1992 to over 800 in 2009.

      More than 10.5% of all high school students in Kansas reported having been drunk or high at least once during the school day.

      Heroin addiction recently supplanted crack cocaine addiction as the number one drug problem in the state of Connecticut

      Florida is home to a predominant number of prescription drug addicts – perhaps because the state is responsible for almost half of the illegal sale of prescription painkillers in the entire United States.

      In Maryland, the city of Baltimore is home to a near epidemic of heroin addiction. There are more heroin addiction cases in and heroin-related crime in this city than anywhere else in the United States.

      With the rise of prescription drug addiction in Massachusetts, there have also been a rise in pharmacy break ins. This is not uncommon, as individuals suffering from Vicodin addiction or OxyContin addiction will often do anything to obtain more of the drug – including engage in criminal behavior.

      Statistics from the Iowa Department of Corrections found that crystal meth addiction related offenses were responsible for 62% of new prison admissions since 2004.

      The highest concentration of drug rehab centers can usually be found in highly populated areas such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. This does not mean that the addicts are necessarily from there, they just choose to get treated there In many cases the rehab is choosing because of what and where the patients insurance or the courts dictate they must go!

    • fiona64

      The capital of the highest rate of Rehab and plastic surgery

      Actually, Max, that honor belongs to Utah. http://www.ksl.com/?sid=17790344

      I know, facts are hard.

    • StealthGaytheist

      Hello, Capt. Non- sequitur.