NJDOBI Adopts Regulations to Require Comprehensive Abortion Coverage in Department Regulated Health Insurance Markets
TRENTON – As part of the Murphy Administration’s efforts to protect access to reproductive health care, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance today announced the adoption of rules to require comprehensive abortion coverage as a part of all health benefits plans regulated by the department. This requirement, which was in place as of January 1, 2023 in the individual and small employer health insurance markets, will now be in effect for the fully-insured large employer health insurance market upon plan issuance or renewal.
Last Tuesday I noted that a package of bills designed to codify various ACA protections into state law here in Michigan (most of which are low-hanging fruit of my own healthcare wish list which I posted back in February) had managed to make it halfway through the legislative process: Five of them have passed the Michigan House, but not the Senate; the other three have passed the Michigan Senate...but not the House. I applauded the state legislature for pushing these bills halfway through and encouraged them to get the other half of the job done.
This happened last week but I was preoccupied with some personal issues and never got around to posting about it. The news is widespread by now but important enough that I figured I should at least give it a mention anyway.
The Supreme Court issued a decision on Friday evening that maintained the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a commonly used abortion pill while an appeal moves forward, the latest development in a fast-moving legal battle that followed a lower court’s ruling that ordered the drug pulled off the market.
Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. had paused the lower court’s ruling on the pill, mifepristone, but that freeze had been set to expire at midnight. The justices issued their decision about five hours before the deadline.
I was out of town for much of last week (my son's robotics team made it to the state championship) so I'm afraid I'm playing a bit of catch up today, so I kind of missed out on writing about this development which, while expected, is both depressing and enraging. Via the NY Times:
A federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary ruling invalidating the Food and Drug Administration’s 23-year-old approval of the abortion pill mifepristone, an unprecedented order that — if it stands through court challenges — could make it harder for patients to get abortions in states where abortion is legal, not just in those trying to restrict it.
The drug will continue to be available at least in the short-term since the judge, Matthew J. Kacsmaryk, stayed his own order for seven days to give the F.D.A. time to ask an appeals court to intervene.
Less than an hour after Judge Kacsmaryk’s ruling, a judge in Washington state issued a ruling in another case, which contradicted the Texas decision, ordering the F.D.A. to make no changes to the availability of mifepristone in the 18 states that filed that lawsuit.
Idaho already has some of the most extreme abortion restrictions on the books, with nearly all abortions banned in the state and an affirmative defense law that essentially asserts any doctor who provides an abortion is guilty until proven innocent. And now Idaho Republicans have set their sights on hindering certain residents from traveling out of state to get an abortion.
A decade ago, when conservatives were attacking President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act as government encroachment in health care, they worked to amend state constitutions around the country to affirm a broad right for people to control their own medical decisions.
“Each competent adult shall have the right to make his or her own health care decisions,” reads section 38(a) of the Wyoming constitution’s Declaration of Rights, under the header “Right of healthcare access.” The provision was placed on Wyoming’s ballot by state lawmakers and approved by voters in 2012; voters saw ballot language that described the measure as preserving this right “from undue governmental infringement.”
Now these anti-ACA provisions—and their broad affirmations of a right to decide—have turned into an unlikely weapon in progressives’ fight against restrictions on abortion.
The first section of the legislative text is about as frank and clear as I've ever seen:
The legislature finds that Hawaii has long been a leader in advancing reproductive rights and advocating for access to affordable and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care without discrimination. However, gaps in coverage and care still exist, and Hawaii benefits and protections have been threatened for years by a hostile federal administration that has attempted to restrict and repeal the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and limit access to sexual and reproductive health care. The Trump administration made it increasingly difficult for insurers to cover abortion care and assembled a Supreme Court that restricted abortion access and that may eliminate the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the near future.
For the first time, retail pharmacies, from corner drugstores to major chains like CVS and Walgreens, will be allowed to offer abortion pills in the United States under a regulatory change made Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration. The action could significantly expand access to abortion through medication.
Until now, mifepristone — the first pill used in the two-drug medication abortion regimen — could be dispensed only by a few mail-order pharmacies or by specially certified doctors or clinics. Under the new F.D.A. rules, patients will still need a prescription from a certified health care provider, but any pharmacy that agrees to accept those prescriptions and abide by certain other criteria can dispense the pills in its stores and by mail order.
This would be a pretty big deal anyway, but given the Supreme Court's recent repeal of Roe vs. Wade, it obviously takes on even more significance.
TRENTON — Following votes by the boards of both the Individual Health Coverage Program and the Small Employer Health Benefits Program, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance today announced that requirements for comprehensive abortion coverage among insurers in the individual and small employer markets will take effect for the start of the 2023 plan year on January 1, 2023.
The department issued a study last month that found a need for regulatory action to require coverage for abortion services without exceptions under health benefits plans regulated by the department. The study was performed as part of the implementation of the historic Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act signed by Governor Phil Murphy earlier this year.
At the department’s request, the Individual Health Coverage Program and the Small Employer Health Benefits Program boards began the process last month to implement coverage changes and the boards voted unanimously yesterday to formally accept the changes.
Department Releases Study and Begins Rulemaking Process to Require Health Benefit Plans Cover Abortion Services Without Exceptions that Limit Coverage; Requests that Insurers Implement Change for 2023
TRENTON — The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance today announced that it has released a study on access to comprehensive reproductive health care that found a need for regulatory action to require coverage for abortion services under health benefits plans regulated by the department, and has begun the formal rulemaking process to implement the requirement. The department performed this study as part of the implementation of the historic Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act signed by Governor Phil Murphy earlier this year, which codifies the constitutional right to freedom of reproductive choice in New Jersey.