Will your health plan pay for an abortion now that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade?
Even before the June 24 ruling, insurance coverage for abortion varied widely. Now the issue is even more complex as states set varying rules — about half are expected to limit or ban abortion in almost all circumstances.
To be clear, though, the question of whether an insurance plan covers abortion is not the same as whether abortion is allowed in a state. Coverage issues are more complicated and governed by a wide variety of factors, including the level of abortion access a state allows.
How dense a thicket is it? Abortion may be covered in a health plan, but if no providers are available, patients don’t have access. However, people with insurance that does not cover abortion can still get one — but only if it’s available in their states or they can afford to travel and pay out-of-pocket. There are also a host of unanswered questions about whether states that restrict abortion will have the legal authority to target the coverage in employer plans.
The issues will likely be before the courts for years to come.
“States will pass laws, there will be some conflict, and then it goes to the courts,” said Erin Fuse Brown, director of the Center for Law, Health & Society at the Georgia State University College of Law. “It could be a while.”
In the meanwhile, here are answers to three common questions.
Are health plans — or employers — required to offer coverage for elective abortions?
The simple answer is “no.”
“There’s no law that requires any health plan, employer-based or anything else, to cover an elective abortion,” Fuse Brown said.
Whether they do is more complicated.
Some job-based health plans