I guess I really don’t understand it. I’ve tried to talk to people about health insurance coverage. I want to understand why women’s reproductive health is often omitted from insurance plans.
For a while I was satisfied with the explanation that an employer chooses what health plan to offer employees. Any time I heard someone complain that their insurance company wouldn’t cover birth control, I was quick to point out that it was their miserly employer who was to blame. “Don’t blame your insurance company! They are just giving you the benefits that your boss thinks you deserve.” Insurance companies offer different levels of coverage at different costs. Sure, that makes sense.
But wait… Health insurance companies will custom design insurance plans that omit coverage for specific body parts or specialized areas? An employer can purchase a health insurance plan and choose not to include coverage for one of the most important aspects of female well-being? That seems kind of haphazard. (And totally absurd.)
But hey, insurance companies aren’t as insensitive as your employer. If your company thinks you deserve a health insurance plan that is lacking an imperative component, you can go ahead and purchase a rider. You can pay hundreds of dollars extra to make sure that you have benefits that may at some point become necessary.
If you are a moderately healthy woman, pregnancy is something that can happen to you at any time. You better check your cut-rate insurance plan, prenatal services might not be covered. I’ve heard that some plans cover abortion services, but I don’t know anyone who has that kind of coverage.
Reproductive health is inseparable from a woman’s overall health. So I just don’t understand–Why is it okay for employers and insurance companies to decide that the reproductive health care of a woman is not necessary in a basic, no frills health insurance plan? If a person needs to buy a rider for their health plan to provide benefits to the COMPLETE person, what is the point of insurance? Omitting reproductive health benefits from any insurance plan is absurd.
I did try to clear up my insurance confusion by considering moral or religious reasons to exclude certain health services. (Dominos comes to mind. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130315/POLITICS02/303150376) Maybe it makes sense that an employer who has strong opinions about contraceptives or abortion wouldn’t offer his or her employees an insurance plan that covers those services. Maybe…. No, that can’t be okay. An employer can’t use discriminatory hiring practices. If an employer has a religious belief, that belief cannot control the hiring practices. Not hiring someone because of religious differences is discrimination. Religion can’t be used in a discriminatory way in the hiring process. Why is it okay to impose religious beliefs on employees after they are hired?
I’ve been told that I need to educate myself about health insurance policy. I guess if I understood insurance, health plans that conspicuously omit reproductive health benefits would suddenly make sense to me…