Leave it to anti-choice politicians to make the impossible happen: a story in which a gargantuan insurance company comes off as the good guy. The Missouri Department of Insurance is charging Aetna Life Insurance Co $1.5 million — its largest fine in state history — for, among other things, providing coverage for contraceptives without allowing employers to opt out and routinely providing coverage for elective abortions.
"This settlement should be a reminder to all health benefit plans covering Missourians, that state law has stringent requirements honoring the religious and moral beliefs of insurance customers," department director John M. Huff said in a statement. "We will be enforcing Missouri's decade-old contraception coverage law, as well as the new law on the subject, anywhere we see violations."
Sam Lee, head of anti-abortion group Campaign Life Missouri, jumped on the bandwagon, calling the settlement "a wakeup call for Missouri health-insurance companies" that "are being put on notice that the moral concerns of Missouri citizens must take precedence over the standard operating procedure of the insurance industry."
But neither specified exactly how those moral concerns would take precedence over the federal Affordable Care Act, which allows religious institutions to opt out of coverage but requires all insurers to directly offer contraceptive options to employers regardless.
For now, according to the settlement, Aetna will pay the $1.5 million fine and "stop issuing health-insurance policies that violate Missouri law."
Image via Stuart Miles Shutterstock.