What You Need to Know
On November 9, HHS issued a proposed rule aimed at increasing transparency surrounding the hidden abortion surcharge in many Affordable Care Act 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.
Although Congress will have to intervene and permanently fix the problem of abortion services and taxpayer funds co-mingling, HHS can do its part by enforcing the law. This proposed rule better aligns with the letter of the law and requires that the abortion surcharge be collected separately from insurance premiums. The Obama Administration interpreted “separate” as “together” and failed to enforce the law as intended and written. This effectively meant that instead of a pool with abortion services, paid into with the “separate payment” and a pool of other covered services, all of this was together, jumbling taxpayer-subsidized plans with elective-abortion coverage.
The proposed rule says that qualified health providers must send an “entirely separate monthly bill” and “instruct the policy subscriber to pay the portion of the premium in a separate transaction.” Meaning, there must be separate postage or two bills in entirely separate emails. This rule is the best interpretation of the law and the 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 many insured to see that they have been subsidizing abortion whether they intended to or not.
To learn more about this section of Obamacare, including legislative history, click here.
Your Sample Comment
What follows is a sample comment you can copy, cut, and paste as is or edit to make your own. You will need to copy the entire comment and paste it on the next screen. Anything you put in the comment’s text will be public information; therefore, do not include any personal information. You may then make your edits on that screen. When you are ready to copy and paste the text below, click here to submit your comments.
You may experience difficulty with the above link depending on your computer’s plug-ins. However, you may also use this link and submit your formal comment via regulations.gov.
Dear Secretary Azar,
I am writing in strong support of the proposed rule titled, “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; Exchange Program Integrity,” proposed on November 9, 2018. This rule tackles several concerning transparency issues with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but the provision to enforce Section 1303 of the ACA is perhaps one of the most crucial, especially for pro-life Americans like me.
As you know, the ACA was intentionally written to sidestep the long-standing, widely endorsed Hyde Amendment, which prohibits government funding of elective abortion. Section 1303 of the ACA requires a separate payment for abortion services, but the previous Administration interpreted “separate” to mean “together.” This is wholly unacceptable and is in direct opposition to the letter and intent of the law.
Many Americans have no idea their insurance plans cover voluntary abortion, and I do not want to pay for that in my health plan. It is a direct violation of my conscience rights to pay for abortion in any form, including subsidizing it through my insurance coverage. The proposed rule does not specify what would happen if an insured individual declined to pay the separate payment or did not include a separate check. Not including a separate payment for abortion services or declining to pay the surcharge should not invalidate the health plan, but it should invalidate the abortion coverage.
Consumers should be able to opt out of abortion coverage altogether. Abortion is not health care and does not belong in an insurance plan. Abortion ends the life of a unique individual with unique DNA and is the antithesis of care.
As a member of Concerned Women for America, I encourage you to uphold this rule’s requirements for separate checks, separate envelopes, and separate transactions. However, I suggest that you clarify for insurance companies and consumers that not paying the $1 surcharge in a separate payment would equate to an opt-out of abortion coverage.
[Personalize the comment here!]
Thank you for your commitment to life and enforcing the law.
[YOUR NAME HERE]