ACLU Ends Legal Challenge to Kansas Insurance Law

Welcome to KansasThis is the end of a court case that had been going on for a very long time. The ACLU sued the state of Kansas over a law that would require health insurance companies to exclude coverage for abortion from policies. The case was scheduled to be heard in March. The settlement prevents the ACLU from raising the same claims in future cases.

This particular insurance court case has been going on since 2011. The original judge assigned to the case passed away before the case could be heard. The case was passed to another judge, and then to a third judge. The case was finally scheduled to be heard in March of 2013.

In a previous blog I wrote a fairly detailed history of this insurance case with all the relevant details. I’ll leave you to read over that if you want to.

For the purposes of this update, I will say that the case started when the state of Kansas created a law that went into affect in July of 2011. The law required all health insurance companies to exclude coverage for abortion in their policies (except in cases where the woman’s life was at risk). Women who wanted coverage for abortion would be required to purchase a separate insurance rider. Typically, a rider increases the cost of an insurance premium.

The ACLU sued the state of Kansas over this law. They said it was discriminatory, since only women would be affected by an increase in premium cost due to the rider, (but men would not be affected). They also said the purpose of the law was to impose a substantial obstacle to women who were seeking an abortion.

Previous to the passage of that law, about 70% of the insurance market share in Kansas included coverage for abortion in comprehensive policies. The case was scheduled to be heard in March of 2013.

Instead, the case has been dismissed. The ACLU has ended its legal challenge against the Kansas law. Both the ACLU and the state of Kansas have agreed to dismiss all claims and each side will pay for its own costs and attorney’s fees. The agreement also prohibits the ACLU from raising similar claims again or appealing the judge’s earlier ruling.

The agreement followed a ruling by a federal judge on January 7, 2013. That ruling said that the ACLU failed to provide any evidence that the Legislature’s predominant motivation in passing the 2011 law was to make it more difficult for women who were seeking an abortion to obtain one.

The result is that women who live in Kansas who may one day choose to seek an abortion have two options. They can come up money out of their own pocket to cover an abortion. Or, they can purchase an insurance rider that will cover the cost of an abortion (and will also increase the woman’s health insurance premiums).

Image by C. G. P. Grey on Flickr

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