The Hyde Amendment and Coverage for Abortion Services

“Despite the news that unintended pregnancy and abortion rates have fallen in the general population, abortions are becoming increasingly concentrated among poor women and black women. Women of color are more likely than white women to be insured by Medicaid, and have higher rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. In 2014, 75% of abortions were among low-income patients, and 64% were among black or Latina women.5 Young adults and teens, who are less likely to have a steady source of income, make up the majority (72%) of abortion patients” (Salganicoff and Sobel).

“According to the Federal Reserve Board, 40% of U.S. adults do not have enough savings to pay for a $400 emergency expense” (Salganicoff and Sobel).

“Without coverage for abortion under Medicaid, women must pay out-of-pocket for the procedure. Costs vary by location, facility, and gestational age, but on average in 2014 an abortion cost between $500 at 10 weeks gestation, while at 20 weeks gestation, costs soared to $1195 or more.7 Abortion costs are higher in states with more restrictive policies.8 Women covered by Medicaid in states that use state funds to pay for abortion have no out of pocket costs for abortion”(Salganicoff and Sobel).

What would happen if Hyde were lifted?

“… if the ban were to have been lifted in 2018, it could have provided federal support for abortion coverage for 14.2 million reproductive-age women enrolled in Medicaid, as well as millions of others in similarly restricted federal programs”(Salganicoff and Sobel).

“For many low-income women, the lack of Medicaid coverage for abortion is effectively an abortion ban.  A recent study estimated that 29% of pregnant Medicaid-eligible women in Louisiana would have had abortions instead of giving birth if Medicaid covered abortions”(Salganicoff and Sobel).

“In 2014, 52% of abortion patients residing in states that use their own funds to pay for abortion had the procedure covered by Medicaid, compared to 1.5% of patients who live in states adhering to Hyde restrictions” (Salganicoff and Sobel).

“Advocates who support abortion rights are working to counteract these efforts through federal legislation such as the EACH Woman Act, which would prohibit the federal and state governments from restricting insurance coverage for abortion in both public and private health insurance programs. Advocates who oppose abortion are working to make Hyde permanent law and are endorsing the passage of legislation such as amending Title I8 of the United States code, to prohibit abortion in cases where a fetal heartbeat is detectable” (Salganicoff and Sobel).

“Despite higher shares of women with private insurance and Medicaid resulting from the coverage expansions established by the ACA, coverage for abortion services remains limited. While the removal of the Hyde Amendment could broaden this abortion coverage for millions of low-income women who receive federally subsidized health coverage, the true impact of such a policy change would vary by program and state. Forty years after the first time the Hyde Amendment was first applied to a federal appropriations bill, the law is still being debated reflecting the polarized nature of the abortion debate in the United States” (Salganicoff and Sobel).

Citation:

Salganicoff, Alina. Sobel, Laurie. “The Hyde Amendment and Coverage for Abortion Services.” KFF, 10 Sept. 2020, http://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/issue-brief/the-hyde-amendment-and-coverage-for-abortion-services/.

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