Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Insured Federal employee forced to pay $5,000 for abortion of anencephalic fetus

  1. #1
    Elite Member WhoAmI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    4,371

    Default Insured Federal employee forced to pay $5,000 for abortion of anencephalic fetus

    A woman who had little choice enlightens health-care debate
    By Joe Davidson
    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    D.J. Feldman was 11 weeks pregnant last year when she learned that her child had anencephaly, a fetal defect that left the baby with almost no brain. It is always fatal.

    Feldman, a 41-year-old federal lawyer, and her husband had been trying for two years to have a baby. Sadly, her doctor "made it very clear I wasn't to continue this pregnancy," she said.

    An abortion was medically necessary. She had little choice.


    But after the jolt of the diagnosis and the emotional pain of the procedure, Feldman was in for another shock -- sticker shock. She thought her health insurance policy through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) would cover the $9,000 cost of the abortion. It didn't.

    For Feldman, unlike many women who have abortion insurance coverage through private-sector employers, abortion coverage provided through her employer -- the U.S. government -- is illegal. The law says that "no funds . . . shall be available to pay for an abortion" under FEHBP. Exceptions are made for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest, or that endanger the mother's life.

    Feldman's case is instructive. Congress is considering a ban, like the one in federal employee health plans, against federal funding of abortions as part of the effort to reform the nation's porous health insurance system. After hot debate last month, the House approved the Stupak-Pitts amendment, which would prohibit abortion coverage in government-subsidized health insurance, with exceptions for rape, incest and the mother's health.

    Feldman's health was in jeopardy. The minority of babies with anencephaly that are carried to term -- dying shortly after birth -- cause complications such as "dysfunctional labor and postpartum hemorrhage, which can increase the risk for the mother," Feldman's doctor wrote in a letter to her insurance company.

    The doctor warned that the complications for a woman of Feldman's maternal age from giving birth to a child with anencephaly "are especially serious . . . and could be life threatening."

    Despite the doctor's plea, the Office of Personnel Management refused to make Blue Cross/Blue Shield pay.

    "The fetal anomaly presented no medical danger to you, the mother," OPM wrote to Feldman. "Consequently, we cannot direct the [insurance] Plan to provide benefits for the services in dispute."

    Feldman was able to negotiate the fee down from the $8,898 she was billed as an individual, to the $5,000 the Blues would have paid.
    Federal and insurance company officials do not discuss individual cases.

    For privacy reasons, Feldman, who lives in the D.C. area, doesn't want her full name or agency printed. She has lobbied against the Stupak amendment and the law that places restrictions on the health coverage of federal employees. Those restrictions also apply to others who use federally funded health programs, including poor women on Medicaid, patients in military hospitals and Native Americans who use the Indian Health Service. Federal law even prohibits the D.C government from using its local funds for abortions, though the House has voted to lift that ban.

    "People don't want their tax dollars to pay for abortion," Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said in an interview, citing a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showing that 61 percent of those surveyed support a ban against using public subsidies for abortion coverage. "Many pro-choice members [of Congress] support no tax dollars for abortion," he added.

    Stupak said that individuals would be able to buy supplemental abortion policies. But that coverage isn't always available. The Government Employees Health Association, better known as GEHA, for example, doesn't sell supplemental abortion policies.

    With Democrats running the White House and Congress, abortion rights advocates thought that now would be the time to change the law. "This has been the first time in eight years to have the punishing restrictions removed from federal employees," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

    She and others are encouraged because the ban has not been included in a Senate appropriations bill, though it remains in similar House legislation.

    "Abortion is basic health care for women, and federal employees should have coverage," said Vicki Saporta, president of the National Abortion Federation.

    But the Stupak amendment has been a blow to abortion rights forces. It's a clear signal that the House, at least, is in no mood to mess with the bans against federal funding.

    Nonetheless, "I'm hopeful it will be changed," Feldman said.
    Joe Davidson - Federal Diary: A case study in abortion funding - washingtonpost.com

  2. #2
    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    27,741

    Default

    Wait a minute, I have never heard of an abortion costing that much. I have heard that they are in the $300-$1000 range. She wasn't even out of the first trimester at 11 weeks, so I don't understand why it was so expensive. Am I missing something?

  3. #3
    Elite Member WhoAmI's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    4,371

    Default

    Maybe she needed extra monitoring and hospital care because of the situation? It doesn't say.

  4. #4
    Elite Member stella blue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    3,868

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeyotch View Post
    Wait a minute, I have never heard of an abortion costing that much. I have heard that they are in the $300-$1000 range. She wasn't even out of the first trimester at 11 weeks, so I don't understand why it was so expensive. Am I missing something?
    That's what I'm wondering. I know for a fact that the local clinic here charges less than $600 for a first trimester termination. Something's fishy about this story - including the denial of the claim itself.

  5. #5
    Elite Member Little Wombat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,616

    Default

    My guess is it includes an in-hospital stay. Or perhaps because this involved a private practice doctor instead of an abortion-specific clinic.
    "Oh! I've been looking for a red suede pump!"
    - Marie (Carrie Fisher), When Harry Met Sally

  6. #6
    Elite Member stella blue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Posts
    3,868

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Wombat View Post
    My guess is it includes an in-hospital stay. Or perhaps because this involved a private practice doctor instead of an abortion-specific clinic.
    Possibly, which is why I can't imagine why they'd deny the coverage.

    It makes me sad that such a heartbreaking decision had to be made even harder by a fight with the insurance company.

  7. #7
    Hit By Ban Bus!
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeyotch View Post
    Wait a minute, I have never heard of an abortion costing that much. I have heard that they are in the $300-$1000 range. She wasn't even out of the first trimester at 11 weeks, so I don't understand why it was so expensive. Am I missing something?
    My guess is, is that she had it done at the hospital, instead of the local abortion clinic.

  8. #8
    Elite Member Lobelia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    a backwards hillbilly state
    Posts
    20,801

    Default

    Surely this has happened many times before. I wonder if anybody has ever fought it in court, or if any type of legal precedent has ever been set.
    "I've cautiously embraced jeggings"
    Emma Peel aka Pacific Breeze aka Wilde1 aka gogodancer aka maribou

    Yip, yip, yip in your tiny indignation. Bark furiously on, lady dog.

  9. #9
    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    42,527

    Default

    Outrageous. Old men control freaks.
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

  10. #10
    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Sleepy night night land
    Posts
    22,887

    Default

    Insane!!! This is just plain stupid. The baby wouldn't survive...this is about a lawful, medical procedure.

  11. #11
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Uranus
    Posts
    31,885

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Beeyotch View Post
    Wait a minute, I have never heard of an abortion costing that much. I have heard that they are in the $300-$1000 range. She wasn't even out of the first trimester at 11 weeks, so I don't understand why it was so expensive. Am I missing something?
    Well, it is a government price tag and hammers bought by the government usually go for a few thousand a pop.

    As far as her not being covered for this, thank the fundies for that one.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Federal government joins probe of abortion doctor's murder.
    By Cali in forum U.S. Politics and Issues
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: June 1st, 2009, 01:15 PM
  2. Replies: 18
    Last Post: January 12th, 2009, 12:58 PM
  3. Abortion? Gotta see your fetus first
    By Grimmlok in forum U.S. Politics and Issues
    Replies: 74
    Last Post: March 24th, 2007, 09:18 AM
  4. Replies: 11
    Last Post: October 16th, 2006, 10:33 AM
  5. Replies: 1
    Last Post: March 6th, 2006, 03:14 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •