rain
Monday December 10th, 2018 9:49PM

Abortion objectors may get a pass on health law penalty

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Object to abortion? You may be able to get an exemption from the Affordable Care Act tax penalty for people who don't get health insurance.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced final rules Monday for the ACA's health insurance marketplaces, and expanded exemptions were part of the package.

Last year's GOP tax bill repealed the health law's unpopular requirement to carry health insurance or risk fines from the IRS — but that doesn't happen until next year.

Officials said expanded hardship exemptions will go into effect immediately. People who object to abortion can get an exemption if all available health plans in their area cover the procedure.

There's also an exemption for people living in communities that only have one participating ACA insurer, about half of U.S. counties. In 2016 about 6.5 million people paid fines for being uninsured, averaging $470. Penalties have gone up since then.

Also on Monday, the administration announced new rules for the ACA marketplaces in 2019, including more options for states to redesign benefits within 10 broad categories required by the health law. Consumer advocates say this could whittle away at comprehensive coverage for people with serious health problems.

But the administration is under pressure from Republican-led states to reduce the cost of health insurance for consumers buying their own policies. One of the ways to do that is by cutting back on benefits.

Customers who don't qualify for subsidies under the Obama-era health law have faced several rounds of steep premium increases. Republican attempts to entirely repeal the law fell short last year, in one of the biggest defeats for President Donald Trump.

The coverage exemption for abortion objectors is on top of financial hardship exemptions traditionally offered under the ACA. In previous years about twice as many people have been able to get exemptions as paid the fines. The Trump administration's action broadens the list of reasons for an exemption, but it's still unclear how many people will avail themselves of the new options. Individual consumers must apply through HealthCare.gov.

Medicare and Medicaid administrator Seema Verma said the exemption for abortion objectors provides "pro-life Americans" with relief if they are living in an area where the only available ACA plan covers abortion. About half the states already forbid ACA plans from covering abortion, so it's also uncertain how many consumers would qualify for the new exemption.

Religious conservatives are a core constituency for the Trump administration.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Health, AP Business, AP Health - Women's health
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Canada town gets new shock with dead player misidentified
Families and friends already stunned by the deaths of 15 players and team personnel for Humboldt's youth hockey club has gotten a new shock with authorities announcing that one of the dead had been misidentified
5:52PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Trump threatens Syria strike, suggests Russia shares blame
President Donald Trump promises a quick decision on a U.S. response to the apparent chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians
5:52PM ( 20 minutes ago )
The Latest: Security increased around courthouse for Cosby
Security has been increased around the courthouse where Bill Cosby is standing trial on sexual assault charges
5:47PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Don Imus ranch in northern New Mexico up for sale
The sprawling cattle ranch in northern New Mexico owned by controversial former radio host Don Imus is for sale
3:35PM ( 2 hours ago )
FDA puts restrictions on birth control implant but no recall
FDA puts new restrictions on a permanent contraceptive implant that has been subject of complaints
1:31PM ( 4 hours ago )
Workers' radiation exposure halts nuke plant demolition
Seven decades after making key portions of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, workers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation are being exposed to radiation as they tear down buildings that helped create the nation's nuclear arsenal
11:46AM ( 1 day ago )
AP Health
Republicans stand by Pruitt as ethics probes expand
Congressional Republicans are standing by Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt as he fends off ethics troubles _ a testament to their support for his agenda and reluctance to wade into a confirmation fight over who might replace him
5:20PM ( 51 minutes ago )
The Latest: Yes, Mark Zuckerberg will wear suit in Congress
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, best known for his "uniform" of jeans, sneakers and a fitted gray T-shirt, will don a suit and tie when he testifies before Congress starting Tuesday
5:20PM ( 51 minutes ago )
GOP Republicans return to work with Trump wish list in mind
Trump wish list: GOP lawmakers return to work scrambling to satisfy a president they desperately need to be promoting their achievements as they prepare to hit the campaign trail
4:43PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Quintuplets born at Phoenix hospital are 'angels'
Bringing five babies into the world at one time has left Jamie Scott feeling tired, excited and ultimately blessed
8:14PM ( 2 days ago )
Nebraska on pace to pass budget targeting abortion providers
Nebraska is on pace to pass a budget that could deny federal money to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, at least temporarily
10:45PM ( 1 week ago )
Abortion dispute leads to budget stalemate in Nebraska
A dispute over abortion has led to a budget standoff in Nebraska that could disrupt other state services and force lawmakers into a rare special session later this year
5:56PM ( 1 week ago )
AP Health - Women's health
Canada town gets new shock with dead player misidentified
Families and friends already stunned by the deaths of 15 players and team personnel for Humboldt's youth hockey club has gotten a new shock with authorities announcing that one of the dead had been misidentified
5:52PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Trump threatens Syria strike, suggests Russia shares blame
President Donald Trump promises a quick decision on a U.S. response to the apparent chemical weapons attack on Syrian civilians
5:52PM ( 20 minutes ago )
The Latest: Security increased around courthouse for Cosby
Security has been increased around the courthouse where Bill Cosby is standing trial on sexual assault charges
5:47PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Arizona sending 225 troops to Mexico border, promises more
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has said that 225 members of the state's National Guard are being sent to the U.S.-Mexico border and that more will also support President Donald Trump's call for troops to fight drug trafficking and illegal immigration
5:46PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Congo: 6 workers killed in ambush at Virunga National Park
Authorities in Congo say five park rangers and a driver have been killed in an attack at the Virunga National Park
5:46PM ( 25 minutes ago )