Today, we testified in support of HB 685, as ammended. This critical legislation builds on the progress New Hampshire has made in recent years to ensure that Granite Staters' insurance covers the health care they need by requiring that commercial insurance plans, including plans on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, cover abortion if they also cover maternity benefits. Testimony below:
HB 685: establishing a committee to study reimbursement for ambulance services by insurance carriers in New Hampshire. Amended to add: relative to insurance plans that cover maternity benefits
Committee: Senate Commerce
Date: June 11, 2020
Position: Support, as amended
HB685 as amended helps protect access to reproductive health care by ensuring coverage of abortion services.
This bill would ensure that commercial insurance policies and policies on the Affordable Care Act exchange in New Hampshire cover abortion care if they also cover maternity care. This is a matter of basic equity and fairness.
Abortion has been a safe and legally protected medical procedure for nearly 50 years, since the US Supreme Court decided in Roe v. Wade that people have a constitutional right to make decisions about their own reproductive health. New Hampshire has a long history of protecting the right to abortion and a deep respect for patients’ right to make their own health care decisions. The government’s role is to protect this right and not restrict or interfere with it. HB685 as amended removes barriers to reproductive health care and ensures that insurance companies cover abortion.
While a number of private insurance providers and insurance providers on the ACA Exchanges cover abortion care in New Hampshire, some plans do not. No abortion coverage requirements exist for insurance providers, and decisions regarding coverage can be arbitrary. HB685 as amended would be a step toward eliminating this disparity, especially in the instances of health endangerment and pregnancy complications.
This amendment protects the Granite Staters against the Trump administration’s proposed rule changes to the ACA.
This bill will also help mitigate the impact of two rules proposed by the Trump administration that would make it more difficult for commercial plans to cover abortion:
The first rule, which recently became final and will go into effect in August, imposes additional cumbersome billing requirements for insurance companies on the Marketplace that cover abortion. This arbitrary rule will make it more difficult for plans to offer coverage for abortion and would make it easier for them to exclude abortion. It is feared that some plans will drop coverage of abortion altogether and consumers could lose coverage by inadvertently missing a payment. HB685 as amended would help mitigate the harm resulting from this rule, by making it clear that coverage of abortion is required in New Hampshire.
The other rule requires that ACA Marketplace plans that offer abortion coverage outside the limited cases of rape, incest or life endangerment, also offer health plans that do not include abortion coverage. This rule would impose increased costs and administrative burdens on insurance companies, and insurers could drop abortion coverage to avoid the hassle and costs. Importantly, this rule does not apply to states with laws requiring abortion coverage. Without the Reproductive Health Parity Act, the new rule could result in major losses of coverage for people in New Hampshire.
HB685 as amended creates stability for insurers.
Requiring coverage of abortion care is consistent with several laws recently passed that protect New Hampshire residents from further erosion of the ACA and that help provide stability for insurers in New Hampshire, including access to no-cost contraception and ensuring coverage of essential health benefits. In addition, the state law now requires coverage of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Like the laws requiring contraception and essential health benefits coverage, this bill would help protect New Hampshire residents from any potential changes to the Affordable Care Act.
HB685 as amended recognizes the importance of coverage.
Now, more than ever, states can play a crucial role in safeguarding women’s health by covering abortion in private insurance plans. The very purpose of health insurance is to ensure that individuals can manage the expenses associated with unexpected medical and health events. Pregnancies can be unplanned, or unexpectedly become medically complicated. For women in either situation, the status of their pregnancy may be the most unexpected health event they experience in their lives. Affording an abortion can be challenging for many women, and without insurance coverage, some women could be denied access to necessary reproductive health services.
HB685 as amended would help protect access to abortion in the Granite State, and we urge you to vote “ought to pass” on this amended bill.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is the largest provider of reproductive and sexual health care for women, men and young people across the State of New Hampshire. We serve New Hampshire residents through 6 health centers in Claremont, Derry, Exeter, Keene, Manchester and White River Junction, VT. In 2018, we saw nearly 14,000 patients at these sites.
Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund (PPNHAF) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy. The Action Fund makes independent expenditures on behalf of or in opposition to targeted candidates for public office. PPNHAF maintains a separate, segregated political committee and fund to make direct campaign contributions to endorsed candidates (the PAC)