02 September 2014
The Catholic Church believes God is watching everything, which may include the small print on your insurance plan. If only He had a counterpart at California's Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) there wouldn't be another uproar about abortion.
After reviewing insurance contracts, DMHC discovered it erroneously approved the request of two Catholic Universities which illegally restricted abortion coverage from their group health insurance plans.
Director of DMHC, Michelle Rouillard, wrote to Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permenente, who covered the problematic Catholic schools, Loyola Marymount and Santa Clara University, to request compliance with California laws within 90 days.
Just in time for Covered California's next open enrollment, November 15.
Despite the Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby ruling, which allowed employers to restrict abortion coverage based on religious beliefs, California's own Constitution protects women's right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. So do the California Reproductive Privacy Act, Knox Keene Act, and Women's Contraceptive Equity Act (WCEA).
In WCEA, the definition of "religious employer" is more specific than SCOTUS' ruling that any "closely-held corporation" with a religious consciousness can block health insurance rights.
WCEA defines such employer as a non-profit whose purpose is the "inculcation of religious values" and so on, which does not describe either Catholic University affected by this case or most corporations who've challenged women's rights in court in the past.
Both schools can keep their plan but must include abortion coverage by the fall or will incur a scolding worse than a nun's cane.