The way that the requirement is operating in practice is that if there is only one multistate plan in a marketplace, as is the case in the D.C. exchange, then OPM officials are ensuring that the plan does not cover abortion. CareFirst will cover abortion in its Washington-specific plan, but not in its multistate plan. OPM and CareFirst officials declined to comment.
CMS officials said in an email that the multistate plans will help them “ensure that in each exchange, there is at least one plan available that covers abortions beyond those allowed by the Hyde Amendment and at least one plan that does not cover abortions beyond those permitted by the Hyde Amendment,” such as cases of rape, incest or danger to the woman’s life.
None of these issues has gotten scrutiny in the past year, but that is likely to change as the launch of the marketplaces approaches.
“As things get closer this fall, attention on the abortion funding issue is going to increase,” said David Christensen, senior director for congressional affairs for the Family Research Council, which opposes abortion.