State lawmakers advance abortion coverage bill

It appears Nebraska will soon join five other states in restricting private health insurance coverage of abortions.

Nebraska lawmakers on Wednesday overwhelmingly advanced a measure (LB22) by Omaha Sen. Beau McCoy that would exclude abortion coverage from all private insurance policies sold in Nebraska. Abortion coverage would be allowed only with an optional rider paid for solely by the insured.

Those restrictions would apply to all insurance, not just policies sold through a new health insurance exchange being set up under the new federal health care law. A proposal by Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm requiring health insurance companies to offer riders providing coverage for abortions was rejected 35-4. Haar says he brought the amendment after his office failed to find any companies that offer such riders.