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Abortion Coverage: Missing What Many Never Knew They Had

One of the most convincing arguments for passing the public health plan without abortion coverage is that very few women use insurance to cover abortions to begin with. But if you've heard the statistic that only 13 percent of abortions are billed to insurers, that's not exactly the whole truth.

The Guttmacher Institute, the pro-choice organization responsible for the study the stats were pulled from, contests the 13 percent statistic has been taken out of context and widely used through the media — like, say, in the Wall Street Journal article we linked to yesterday.

While the study does say only 13 percent of first-term abortions are billed to private insurers, that figure is skewed because it looked at all women who had abortions and not just those who had insurance. You can't bill an insurer if you don't have one! The study also did not include women who paid for abortions up front and were later reimbursed.

So what's a realistic number? Nobody really knows because of the private nature of abortions. Another Guttmacher study found that 87 percent of employer-based insurance plans covered abortions, but a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that only 46 percent of covered workers reported coverage. Why such a big a difference? Many women just don't know their insurance covers abortion.

As Congress continues to debate the public health plan, do you care if it includes abortion coverage? Can we miss something so many women never knew they had?

Source: Flickr User amypritchizzle

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