On March 22, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a historic new law into practice that will make abortions cheaper for individuals who have private insurance.
While health insurance companies are already required to cover abortion costs in California, at times, insured Americans are hit with high deductibles and expensive co-pays that can rack up to $543 on average for medication abortion, ABC News reported. Expenses for procedural abortion can also be costly, with private insurers paying up to $887 to undergo medical treatment. Now, thanks to the new bill, those fees will be completely eliminated for Californians.
“As states across the country attempt to move us backwards by restricting fundamental reproductive rights, California continues to protect and advance reproductive freedom for all,” Newsom said in a statement on Tuesday.
To offset the cost of the fees, some privately insured individuals may see their premiums increase, but the elimination of the exorbitant fees will far outweigh the increased premiums. The California Health Benefits Review Program estimates that the new mandate would allow nearly 9,748 women to utilize abortion services without having to worry about out-of-pocket payments for treatment not covered by insurance. The agency also claimed that the new provision would result “in a decrease of $1,501,000 in annual expenditures” and a significant reduction in health care costs. Depending on the type of insurance and your geographical location, the average out-of-pocket cost paid for a medication abortion ranges from $300 to $1,500 and $295 to $1,600 for a procedural abortion in the United States.
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The move comes as Democratic leaders work swiftly to implement new abortion laws ahead of the Supreme Court’s potential decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that banned states from outlawing abortion. If it is abolished, nearly 26 states would ban abortion outright or make services extremely limited for those looking to seek treatment. Officials who oppose the measure fear that women would be forced to travel to other states to receive abortion services, adding more medical and financial barriers. This summer, the Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on the abortion law in Mississippi that prohibits women from undergoing an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Earlier this month, Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law banning legal action against medical professionals who perform abortions and those who receive abortion treatment. The move came in response to the stringent Texas law that allows people to sue medical abortion providers or those who assist them.
In addition to eliminating medical fees, the state of California is also working to create funds that will help people pay for abortions and would assist low-income individuals with other costs associated with treatment like travel, lodging, and child care for women out of state seeking to receive an abortion in California.
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