Today marks the first day Michigan’s new abortion insurance law takes place, affecting thousands of individuals throughout the state. The law requires Michigan residents and businesses to purchase additional health coverage add-ons in order to cover abortions.
Insurers had two months — since the bill became law in December — to alert the state whether or not they would be offering the new coverage. According to CBS, only seven of the state’s 45 insurers plan to sell the supplemental abortion plans. These seven insurers, however, only plan to sell the abortion policies to employers. If an individual wishes to join to the health care market, the additional abortion policies are currently unavailable. This is true regardless of whether the individual enters the market using the new federal health care exchanges.
The law was created as a way to keep abortion legal in the state of Michigan while appealing to those who disapprove of the practice by removing the funding from their premiums. According to The Detroit Free Press, however, “the majority of elective abortions in Michigan and nationwide are already paid out of pocket.” In fact, only 3 percent of the abortions that took place in Michigan in 2012 were covered by insurance funds. If that is true, then Michigan’s new law does little besides limit access to the procedure.
Supporters of the law have admitted that they do not expect the abortion rate to decline as a result of the new legislation. Critics have claimed that the law requires women to pay extra for a surgical procedure that they may not need, referring to the legislation as the “rape insurance bill.”
It is still unclear exactly how the law will affect women, the abortion rate, and a variety of other factors throughout the state.