CMS reminds insurers that ObamaCare money can't pay for abortions

The Obama administration is seeking to tighten how insurers segregate funds for abortion coverage on the ObamaCare exchanges after a scathing government investigation found the rules have been widely ignored.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provided additional detail Friday about how health plans should go about charging women for abortion coverage that is handled separately from their other health benefits obtained on the exchanges.

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Health insurers can take several approaches to collecting the funds, CMS said, including sending a single monthly invoice that itemizes abortion services or a separate monthly bill for the services.

The agency also said an insurer must charge each exchange enrollee a minimum premium of $1 per month for coverage of abortion services.

Each separate premium must be deposited into a "separate allocation account" to ensure no interaction with federal subsidies, the regulation stated.

"HHS works with stakeholders, including states and issuers, to help them fully understand and follow the statutes and regulations governing the provision of health insurance coverage under a QHP through the exchange," CMS said.

The clarification came as part of a 324-page regulation outlining how the exchanges will operate in 2016. CMS is now seeking comment on the proposal.

The reminder to insurers follows a September report from the Government Accountability Office finding that many companies are allowing women to pay for abortions through their ObamaCare healthcare plans.

This practice is forbidden under the healthcare law, which passed in part because of a compromise among Democrats that women would be charged separately for non-exempted abortion services.

Republicans have argued since the law's passage that the compromise is an "accounting gimmick" that will do nothing to ensure taxpayer dollars do not subsidize abortion.