244844 Taking it to the states: Talking about reproductive justice in conservative states

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 9:30 AM

Lois J. Uttley, MPP , Community Catalyst, Raising Women's Voices, New York, NY
As state governments implement the Affordable Care Act, their decisions will have an impact on the availability and affordability of coverage for women's health services, including comprehensive reproductive health care. The law created special obstacles when it comes to coverage for abortion, essentially allowing states to bar or restrict the inclusion of abortion coverage in policies offered in their state exchanges. In 2010, five states moved quickly to enact such bans and in early 2011 more states were poised to follow. Even if states do allow insurers to offer abortion coverage, insurance companies must bill enrollees separately for the abortion portion of their coverage, and keep these payments segregated from any federal subsidies to which an enrollee may be entitled. The burden of complying with these requirements could well discourage insurers from bothering to offer abortion coverage. In addition, there is no guarantee that contraception will be included in the basic benefit packages sold in the state exchanges. Unless it is mandated by HHS in the “minimum essential benefits package” it sends down to states next year, states will have to add that benefit, and use state dollars to pay for it – a challenge in difficult fiscal times. In over 20 states, Raising Women's Voices regional coordinators are educating, mobilizing and advocating in an attempt to make their state respond positively to the full range of women's reproductive health needs. This presentation will share some of the lessons learned by local activists working for reproductive justice in conservative states.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1) Explain the requirements privates insurers must comply with in order to include abortion in health insurance plans sold through state insurance exchanges 2) Describe strategies used by advocates in states with legislative majorities opposed to abortion

Keywords: Abortion, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I direct the MergerWatch Project and work directly with advocates in 20+ states who are engaged in efforts to protect and expand women's reproductive health services as health reform is implemented.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.