In response to this blog post and subsequent announcement of a House Republican bill to prevent inclusion of abortion coverage in Kentucky's health insurance exchange, the Commonwealth's Department of Insurance rushed out the following statement:
STATEMENT FROM COMMISSIONER SHARON P. CLARK: The Department of Insurance is receiving reports of incorrect information being distributed to the public concerning our position on essential health benefits offered as part of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange. Some of this misrepresentation appears to be deliberate. Coverage for elective abortions will not be an essential health benefit. This would be a violation of state law and has never been considered. Under Kentucky law (KRS 304.5-160), health insurance companies cannot offer coverage for elective abortions except as a separate rider with a separate premium. Therefore, abortions cannot be offered as an essential health benefit in Kentucky's Health Benefit Exchange.
I'm guessing Commissioner Clark doesn't expect anyone to read beyond her own hysterical protestations. In fact, if you actually take a minute to glance at KRS 304.5-160 and HHS Pre-Regulatory Model Guidelines Under Section 1303 of the Affordable Care Act (PL-111-148): Issued Pursuant to Executive Order 13535 (March 24, 2010), you won't be so easily fooled.
The Kentucky statute does indeed prohibit coverage for elective abortions "except as a separate rider with a separate premium." And that's where the feds come in, providing for just such a rider in exchange health plans.
The House Republicans were right to engage on this issue quickly. Senate Republicans would do well to follow their lead, particularly in anticipation of more federal administrative rules.