Friday, November 13, 2009

Abortion and insurance

The law of unintended consequences has been in full force, it seems, regarding the health care debate and, in particular, the attempt to keep abortion funding out of whatever health care bill finally emerges from the murky swamp we like to call Congress.

One such consequence has been that a lot of pro-life Americans have been outraged to discover that the health insurance they carry includes abortion coverage. Few of us are in a position to do anything about that, either--decisions about health care plans are often made by our employers at levels far beyond our own spheres of influence.

But good things can happen when an employer realizes that the "standard coverage" they've been offering employees included an abortion component that they could opt-out of if they wished. One such employer recently learned this, and though surely someone ought to have realized that abortion coverage was included in the employee plan, and surely someone did, it's still nice to see that public attention being paid to this glaring little matter resulted in a prompt decision to remove the coverage from the health plan.

The employer? The Republican National Committee:

The Republican National Committee will no longer offer employees an insurance plan that covers abortion after POLITICO reported Thursday that the anti-abortion RNC's policy has covered the procedure since 1991.

"Money from our loyal donors should not be used for this purpose," Chairman Michael Steele said in a statement. "I don't know why this policy existed in the past, but it will not exist under my administration. Consider this issue settled."

Steele has told the committee's director of administration to opt out of coverage for elective abortion in the policy it uses from Cigna.

Now you'd think a party with a pro-life plank might have noticed that they had abortion coverage in their employee health plan for the past eighteen years. But I'm willing to give the RNC the benefit of the doubt, at least a little bit. The good thing is that the coverage will be removed, now; abortion coverage has no business in the RNC's heath insurance plan.

I hope that lots of other small employers with pro-life leanings will examine their coverage, too, and remove abortion coverage where it is possible to do so. Abortion is, after all, an elective procedure, so why should insurance companies be paying for it in the first place?

The sad reality is that it's quite likely that insurance companies cover abortions for one major reason: it's cheaper to kill a baby in utero than to pay for benefits for pregnancy and childbirth (and then, usually, to have to add the child to the parents' plan). If one good thing were to come from the health care debate, I'd love for it to be a demand by more and more Americans for the removal of health insurance coverage for abortions. So long as abortion is a billion dollar industry, the vultures at Planned Parenthood will keep trying to drum up business, as this lady said. But cutting off insurance company funding to the abortion industry would be an important move toward ending abortion in America.

2 comments:

c matt said...

The sad reality is that it's quite likely that insurance companies cover abortions for one major reason: it's cheaper to kill a baby in utero than to pay for benefits for pregnancy and childbirth (and then, usually, to have to add the child to the parents' plan).

Usually, maternity coverage is also optional and requires an additional premium which, theoretically, should cover for the additional pregnancy and child birth costs. As for adding the new arrival to the plan, again, that should normally require an additional premium payment which them bright insurance actuaries should figure out. You would think insurance companies would want more customers.

Badger said...

The cost of abortion is so trivial (money-wise) that it isn't given real consideration actuarially. Arguing that insurance companies would encourage abortion to avoid pregnancy expenses is like arguing auto shops advocate against basic maintenance to try and get the big repair bills, it sounds good in theory, but isn't practiced.