As Obamacare open enrollment rolled into its second week, the Obama Administration issued a new regulation purportedly intended to help insurance issuers in the state Exchanges comply with Obamacare’s major abortion provision. He really shouldn’t have bothered – it does nothing to correct the problems documented by the Government Accountability Office in September.
First, this is the section of the ACA that the rule addresses:
In the case of a plan [which covers abortion] the issuer of the plan shall collect from each enrollee in the plan . . . a separate payment for each of the following:
(I) an amount equal to the portion of the premium to be paid directly by the enrollee for coverage under the plan of services other than [abortion]; and
(II) an amount equal to the actuarial value of the coverage of [abortion], and shall deposit all such separate payments into separate allocation accounts . . .
There is no ambiguity. An issuer is supposed to collect a separate payment for abortions (with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother).
Now, here is what the new rule says:
Section 1303 of the Affordable Care Act permits, but does not require a[n] [insurance] issuer to separately identify the premium for non-excepted abortion services on the monthly premium bill in order to comply with the separate payment requirement. A consumer may pay the premium for non-excepted abortion services and for all other services in a single transaction, with the issuer depositing the funds into the issuer’s separate allocation accounts. . . .
So, the rule does not follow the law. Further, the rule does not address transparency — another major issue with how this provision is being implemented — at all.
What does all of this mean?
Abortion-covering insurance plans in the exchanges will still not have to collect a separate abortion premium; most Americans in these plans will not even know they are paying for abortions; and, as the Government Accountability Office noted in their report, most of these plans are probably not even using separate allocation accounts.
So, taxpayer funds are being commingled with abortion funds, and are being used to pay for abortions — this year, just like last year.
— Mary Harned is staff counsel for Americans United for Life.