Group Health about-face: Customers will have access to abortions

hospitalSEATTLE -- After a wave of public criticism, Group Health has done an about-face on abortion.  According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, the Seattle health insurance cooperative is rolling out a program to ensure women will continue to have access to the procedure.

Three weeks ago, Group Health omitted abortion from its health exchange programs.  Company officials apologized, according to the newspaper, saying they "clearly made a mistake on this one."  Now, Group Health says it will pay for abortions for women who enroll through the state's new health exchange program called Healthplanfinder.

The Business Journal reports that no federal dollars will go towards the cost of abortions.   Instead, they'll be paid for with money from a special 'restricted fund' within the Group Health Foundation.  Company officials said they left out abortion in the first place, because of the way they interpreted the law, which says federal dollars can't legally be used to pay for the service with tax credits or subsidies.