Commissioner Jones blasts Trump Administration rule that interferes with access to abortion and creates confusion that will cause some consumers to lose their health insurance
News: 2019 Press Release
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today in strong opposition to proposed rulemaking "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Exchange Program Integrity.” The proposed rule pertaining to policies sold through the Exchange would require insurers to send (by mail or electronically) a separate bill each month to consumers who enroll in a health insurance policy that includes abortion coverage for the portion of the premium being charged for abortion services. In addition to the premium payment made for the health insurance policy generally, consumers would be required to make a separate payment each month for the abortion coverage in their policy. California law requires that these policies include abortion coverage.
In part, Commissioner Jones’ letter reads:
“Californians have an inalienable right to privacy secured by the California Constitution, and that right includes the right to choose whether to bear a child or choose to obtain an abortion. The State of California is forbidden from denying or interfering with someone exercising that right.”
“I urge you to withdraw the amendments to the Segregation of Funds for Abortion Services federal rule (45 CFR § 156.280) found in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Exchange Program Integrity proposed rule. The proposed amendments to 45 CFR § 156.280 serve no purpose other than interfering with access to abortion, and have the potential to create substantial consumer confusion, which could result in cancelation of health coverage generally for some individuals. In California alone this ill-conceived proposed regulation would affect more than 1.3 million consumers enrolled in qualified health plans (QHPs) through California’s Exchange, Covered California.”
“The proposed amendment to the Segregation of Funds for Abortion Services rule found in the Exchange Program Integrity proposed rule is unnecessary and extraordinarily burdensome to consumers and health insurers.”
“It is both absurd and punitive to single out this one medical service and require a separate bill and separate payment be made for this coverage. In addition to inappropriately interfering with a woman’s right to abortion coverage, this rule will likely result in the cancellation of the health insurance policies of consumers who fail to understand these burdensome rules.”
“The proposed changes to 45 CFR § 156.280 are entirely arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with statute, and come with unacceptable costs to both consumers and QHP issuers. California Department of Insurance strongly opposes the proposed changes to the existing language of § 156.280, because these changes will harm consumers, issuers, and health insurance markets. This proposed regulation, a burdensome federal government intrusion, serves no legitimate purpose and should be withdrawn.”
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Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.