Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule


Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are suing the Trump administration over a new rule requiring insurers to send a separate bill for abortion coverage.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, claims the rule is designed to make insurance companies stop offering coverage for abortion.

Under the rule, insurance companies that sell plans on the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces will be required to send two separate bills to customers — one for the coverage of abortion care, and another for coverage of other health care. 

Insurers will also have to instruct their customers to pay the bills using two checks, two money orders or two electronic transactions every month. 

The final rule drew praise from anti-abortion conservatives, but health groups said the administrative requirements from the rule are too burdensome. They argued the rule could lead insurance companies to drop abortion coverage, and cause people to lose coverage if they don’t pay both bills.

The second bill won’t be an add-on charge, but the administration acknowledged that the rule change will create extensive new burdens at a cost of more than $1 billion for the next decade. It would affect more than 3 million customers. 

Insurers would likely pass on the costs, leading to higher premiums, deductibles or co-pays for consumers, and would even cause some insurers to drop insurance coverage for abortion altogether. 

According to the lawsuit, the new rule is the complete opposite of the administration’s efforts to cut federal red tape, and the administration “has not identified a single quantifiable benefit from the final rule to weigh in the balance against these costs.”

“This rule exists for one reason: to make it more difficult for people to access safe, legal abortion,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. 

“The administration itself admits this rule has no quantifiable benefit — its sole purpose is to create extra red tape for millions of people across the country. We will not stand for this administration’s attempt to shame people and keep them from accessing health care,” she said.

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