In Brief

New Jersey’s abortion coverage mandate takes effect for large employer plans

By: - September 18, 2023 1:40 pm

As of Monday, state law requires health plans at employers with more than 50 workers to include coverage for abortion. (Dana DiFilippo | New Jersey Monitor)

New Jersey began requiring health plans provided by employers with at least 50 workers to include coverage for abortions starting Monday, state officials announced.

The new regulations mirror ones imposed on individual and small employer plans at the start of the year. Both follow the 2022 passage of the Freedom of Reproductive Choice Act, which codified the state’s abortion protections and required the state’s insurance regulator to study whether carriers should be required to cover the procedure.

“New Jersey remains a leader in safeguarding reproductive rights and health care services,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement.

The Department of Banking and Insurance’s study found that while most New Jersey health plans offered abortion coverage, some limited that coverage to cases involving rape or incest or where a pregnancy threatened the mother’s life.

The study found mandating abortion coverage would have a minimal effect on health insurance premiums, increasing them by between 0% and 0.1%, adding those increases could be countered by savings from a reduction in pregnancy care, including deliveries and postnatal visits.

“Insurance coverage for reproductive health services is essential to expanding access to comprehensive care,” acting Banking and Insurance Commissioner Justin Zimmerman said in a statement. “Today’s enactment reduces barriers to these critical health services, ensuring that health insurance carriers regulated by the department provide abortion coverage without exceptions.”

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Nikita Biryukov
Nikita Biryukov

Nikita Biryukov most recently covered state government and politics for the New Jersey Globe. His tenure there included revelatory stories on marijuana legalization, voting reform and Rep. Jeff Van Drew's decamp to the Republican Party. Earlier, he worked as a freelancer for The Home News Tribune and The Press of Atlantic City.