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Insurers would be required to offer abortion insurance under Democrats’ bill

Sep 24, 2014

Democrats in the state Legislature want to require insurance companies to offer coverage for abortions.

Credit Michigan Municipal League

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed a petition-initiated law last year banning abortion coverage in standard health insurance plans. Under that law, people can only buy coverage for abortions as a separate insurance plan, known as a “rider.”

Democrats say just seven of Michigan’s 42 health insurers offer those riders and none of them offers the plans to individuals buying insurance on their own.

“If (Republican leaders’) intent was to not discriminate and not limit access, then they will give us a hearing and a vote on this bill,” said state Rep. Sarah Roberts, D-St. Clair Shores.

State Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, says women are losing access to health care because of the law.

“It’s happening all around the state,” she said. “It’s not just Democratic districts. It’s not just Republican districts. It’s happening to women everywhere. And we sure hope that now leadership will pay attention and say, ‘Hey, when we thought you could just go buy a rider, we were wrong.’”

Democrats pushing the legislation say it does not signal the end of their efforts to repeal the abortion insurance law. They have already introduced separate legislation that would do that. Those bills have little chance of moving in the Republican-controlled Legislature this year.

But Ari Adler, a spokesperson for state House Speaker Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, says the new legislation could get a committee hearing. Although, he says that is not necessarily because the bills have merit.

“There seems to be some misinformation and misunderstanding of the law that was passed,” said Adler. “And that’s where a committee hearing can help with that.”

Adler says the current law only affects a small number of insurance plans in Michigan.