JEFFERSON CITY, MO, September 25, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Aetna will pay $1.5 million in a settlement with the state of Missouri after the insurance giant did not allow employers to opt out of paying for coverage of abortion and contraception.
Missouri’s insurance regulators say Aetna had been violating a 2001 law providing conscience protections for employers and individuals seeking policies without coverage for contraception.
They also say the company violated a 1983 state law by illegally providing coverage for abortions in their basic policies.State law mandates that abortion coverage is only permitted when an additional premium is paid.
While Aetna, the state’s sixth largest insurance provider, was illegally providing coverage for abortion, it did not cover treatment for autism, or autistic children, as required by a 2010 state law. The settlement required that Aetna donate $250,000 to a non-profit focused on the treatment of autism, as well as send notification of the illegally-denied coverage to its customers and pay autism-associated claims with nine percent interest.
“Every American should be free from government mandates and secret schemes by insurance companies that make us fund or facilitate abortion and abortion-inducing drugs,” Matt Bowman, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, told LifeSiteNews.com.
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“Sadly, the Obama administration doesn’t share a commitment to these fundamental freedoms,” he said. “ObamaCare seeks to usurp the freedom of conscience that states like Missouri protect for their own citizens.”
In 2010 Missouri was the fifth state to pass a law to opt out of the abortion mandate in ObamaCare via a conscience protection law.
“Missourians have a state-protected freedom not to participate in insurance for abortion-inducing pills and contraception, but federal law forces them to do so. So, even though this decision is good news, the threat of ObamaCare will wipe it out unless that threat is eliminated.”
A full 71 percent of state voters chose to nullify the health insurance mandate in a statewide referendum in 2010.
Complaints were made about Aetna’s illegal practices during public testimony before a State House committee in April, which is when the matter first came to the attention of the state’s insurance regulators. The settlement was an outcome of their investigation into those complaints.
“We have worked closely with the Missouri Department of Insurance since the situation was discovered. We apologize for this oversight and have taken steps to prevent it from happening again,” said Aetna spokesperson Scot Riley.