Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule aimed at increasing transparency surrounding the hidden abortion surcharge in many Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans purchased on the state and federal exchanges. The rule has a 60-day comment period and will close on January 8, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. EST. This rule contains two other measures, but we are only concerned with this particular part of the rule.
We need your help to submit comments supporting this transparency rule. Please visit ConcernedWomen.Org/ObamacareTransparencytoday to learn more, read a sample comment, and submit your comment to the Department of Health and Human Services!
Section 1303 of the ACA requires insurance companies to keep abortion-related services separate from the rest of healthcare funds. Abortion-related services are to be collected via a separate payment and kept in a separate fund — at least $1 per enrollee, per month. When the law was passed, President Obama issued guidance saying “separate” payments could be collected “together” and then failed to enforce the law as written. This means that taxpayer dollars, through subsidies and cost-sharing reduction payments, are currently co-mingled with funds that pay for elective abortions.
Although Congress will have to intervene and permanently fix the problem of taxpayer dollars co-mingling with abortion funds, HHS can do its part by enforcing the law. The proposed rule better aligns with the letter of the law and requires that the abortion surcharge be collected separately from insurance premiums.
The proposed rule says that qualified health insurance providers must send an “entirely separate monthly bill” and “instruct the policy subscriber to pay the portion of the premium in a separate transaction.” This means separate bills must be mailed or transacted online in entirely separate emails. The proposed rule is the best interpretation and intent of the law and will incorporate a necessary transparency measure that will not only ideally separate taxpayer dollars from elective abortions but will allow policyholders to see that they have been forced to subsidize abortion whether they want to or not.
The transparency rule is not a done deal. HHS must review and consider public comments before issuing a final ruling. New rules will apply to insurance plans from the year 2020 forward. It is crucial that HHS upholds the law and carries out this transparency rule. Please visit ConcernedWomen.org/ObamacareTransparencytoday for a sample comment and more information on how to make a difference.