Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision could affect medical insurance coverage

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Photo: Mike Kline/Getty Images

Today’s Supreme Court ruling striking down Roe v. Wade has implications for medical insurance coverage, based on healthinsurance.org.

The 6-3 ruling that unwinds near 50 years of a girl’s right to an abortion now leaves that call to individual states. An estimated half of them have already got abortion restrictions in place or are expected to implement restrictions.

“With Roe v. Wade overturned, abortion access will vary more sharply from one state to a different,” said Louise Norris, an analyst with healthinsurance.org said in a statement. “State-level variations were already the norm for medical insurance coverage of abortion, particularly for health plans purchased by individuals and small groups. States that can now ban abortions were generally the identical states that already prohibited abortion coverage on health plans purchased within the exchange and even on all private state-regulated health plans.” 

In the interim, she said, most health plans in all states will proceed to supply coverage for FDA-approved female contraception, including sterilization, long-acting contraception (IUDs and implants) and emergency contraception.”

WHY THIS MATTERS

There may be a large variation in how states regulate medical insurance coverage, healthinsurance.org said.

Twenty-five states have restrictions on health coverage of abortion. In the opposite states insurance carriers determine whether their plans will include coverage.

Six states – Oregon, Latest York, California, Washington, Illinois and Maine – require all state-regulated medical insurance plans to cover abortions. In three of those – Oregon, Latest York and Illinois – the health plan must fully cover the price, while health plans in the opposite three states can require the member to pay their normal deductible, co-pays and coinsurance.

There’s not prone to be a significant change in how abortion is roofed under health plans sold in Reasonably priced Care Act  marketplaces, Norris said. 

THE LARGER TREND

The Supreme Court on Friday overturned 49 years of a women’s right to an abortion in siding with Mississippi Department of Health Officer Thomas E. Dobbs in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Within the 6-3 decision, Justice Samuel Alito wrote the opinion for almost all: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Clarence Thomas. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, dissented.

Alito said the Structure doesn’t confer a right to an abortion. Regulating abortion is now a call that goes back to the states, he said.

The Supreme Court case pivoted on Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act, which generally prohibits abortion after the fifteenth week of pregnancy – several weeks before a fetus is thought to be viable outside the womb.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the query in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is whether or not all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.

“In urging our review, Mississippi stated that its case was ‘a perfect vehicle’ to ‘reconsider the bright-line viability rule,’ and that a judgment in its favor would ‘not require the Court to overturn’ Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey. Today, the Court nonetheless rules for Mississippi by doing just that.”

In dissenting, Justices Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan said of the ruling, “It says that from the very moment of fertilization, a girl has no rights to talk of. A state can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even on the steepest personal and familial costs. An abortion restriction, the bulk holds, is permissible at any time when rational, the bottom level of scrutiny known to the law. And since, because the Court has often stated, protecting fetal life is rational, States will be at liberty to enact all manner of restrictions. The Mississippi law at issue here bars abortions after the fifteenth week of pregnancy. Under the bulk’s ruling, though, one other state’s law could accomplish that after ten weeks, or five or three or one – or, again, from the moment of fertilization.”

 

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
Email the author: SMorse@himss.org

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