Sen. Breen decries Maine insurer for ditching abortion coverage

Posted: October 28, 2016 | Senator Breen

AUGUSTA — Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, is decrying a decision by Community Health Options to stop covering elective abortions, starting next year.

News reports on Wednesday indicated that Community Health Options, a Lewiston-based health insurance co-op with more than 65,000 policyholders, was dropping abortion coverage as a cost-saving measure.

“Mainers should know that as a result of CHO’s decision, Maine women will suffer,” said Sen. Breen. “The choice CHO is making is a shame and a disappointment, but perhaps not a surprise. After all, politicians in Congress and health insurers across the country have for decades been more than willing to treat women’s health coverage as somehow separate or lesser than other health needs.”

Costs of abortion range from approximately $550 up to $10,000, and the procedure becomes more expensive and risky during the course of a pregnancy. Forcing women to pay out of pocket means delaying the procedure as they try to pull together the money to pay the bill — increasing both the risk and the cost to patients.

The decision not to cover so-called “elective” abortions includes failure to cover some of the most heart-wrenching complications of pregnancy. For example, a woman who learns in her third trimester that her fetus will not be viable outside the womb will be forced to carry the pregnancy to term, or pay for her abortion out-of-pocket.

“Once again, low-income women who are unable to pay out-of-pocket costs will be denied the same access to safe, legal abortion that their wealthier counterparts enjoy,” said Sen. Breen. “Policies like the one adopted by CHO create real hardships on Maine women, and interfere with their rights to make decisions about their health care and their families without interference by politicians or bureaucrats. I urge CHO to reconsider this decision, for the thousands of Maine women who will face new burdens if they continue down this path.”