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Arkansas

Insurance Prohibition for Abortion

Does Arkansas prohibit private insurance plans from covering abortion services? Yes, in the state exchange. Health-insurance policies offered in the new state exchange established under health-care reform may not include abortion coverage, with exceptions only to save a woman's life, or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. H.B. 1100, 89th Gen. Assemb., 2013 Reg. Sess. (Ark. 2013).

Does Arkansas prohibit plans in its state exchange from covering abortion services? Yes. Health-insurance policies offered in the new state exchange established under health-care reform may not include abortion coverage, with exceptions only to save a woman's life, or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. H.B. 1100, 89th Gen. Assemb., 2013 Reg. Sess. (Ark. 2013).
  
Does Arkansas prohibit insurance plans for public employees from covering abortion services?
Yes, in some cases.  Certain state employee insurance plans prohibit coverage of abortion, with an exception only to save a woman's life. Amendment 68 of the Arkansas Constitution prohibits the use of public funds to pay for abortion care, with an exception only to save a woman's life.  

Based on Amendment 68, parties to a lawsuit agreed that the University of Arkansas' employee group health-insurance plan would cover abortion services only when necessary to save a woman's life.  Ark. Const. amend. 68, §1 (Initiative Petition Approved 1988); Foshee v. Sugg, No. E-IJ97-4325 (Ark. Cir. Ct. Feb. 6, 1998) (dismissal).

Another lawsuit based on Amendment 68  sought to prohibit Pulaski County from continuing to offer employee health-insurance coverage for abortion in cases of rape and incest.  The county changed insurance policies and now provides coverage only for abortion in cases of life endangerment.  The lawsuit was then dismissed.  Ehlebracht v. Villines, No. IJ2000-2121 (Ark. Cir. Ct. Dec. 4, 2002) (order dismissing without prejudice).

Does Arkansas prohibit the purchase of extra coverage for abortion services?
No.  Nothing in the law prohibits the purchase of abortion coverage through an optional rider; in theory, women may purchase a separate policy and pay an extra premium to receive abortion coverage.  However, nothing in the law requires an insurer to make such riders available and there is little evidence that insurers offer these products. Ark. Const. amend. 68, §1 (Initiative Petition Approved 1988); Foshee v. Sugg, No. E-IJ97-4325 (Ark. Cir. Ct. Feb. 6, 1998) (dismissal).


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