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University automatically enrolls international students in abortion-covering insurance

Over 600 students enrolled in insurance that covers elective abortions

The University of Wyoming automatically enrolls its international students in the university’s student health insurance plan, a plan that covers elective abortions; the school does not directly inform the students of this coverage, though it does provide them with a listing of policy benefits when they enroll.

The university’s health insurance plan lists “elective abortion” as one of its covered procedures. Laura Betzold, the chief risk officer in the school’s Office of Risk Management, told The College Fix via email that “the UW student insurance plans for domestic and international students, offered through UnitedHealthcare StudentResources, cover both medically necessary and elective abortion.”

As part of university policy, the school automatically enrolls international students in that coverage. According to the school’s website, “international (non-citizen) students are automatically enrolled in the medical insurance each semester.” Those students “may waive the University of Wyoming Student Medical Insurance” if, per a waiver policy, they secure alternate insurance that meets the “minimum requirements established by the federal government for exchange visitors.”

According to Betzold, the alternate insurance does not need to cover abortion. “Abortion is not considered in the insurance waiver process for international students,” Betzold told The Fix.

Betzold told The College Fix that, for the fall 2018 semester, the school has enrolled 616 international students in the university’s health insurance plan and that 108 waivers had been granted so far.

Asked if it is made clear to international students that the insurance in which they are automatically enrolled covers abortion, Betzold did not directly answer. “Students are provided electronic access to a summary brochure and a detailed policy document with all policy terms, including coverages and exclusions,” she told The Fix.

Though the largest university in Wyoming offers elective abortion coverage to thousands of students, the state’s pro-life governor would not remark on the insurance policy.

Governor Matt Mead, whose campaign website once stated “I believe in the sanctity of life and am against abortion,” did not directly respond to The Fix’s requests for comment on the policy. Rather, Mead’s Chief of Staff, Kari Jo Gray, told The Fix via email: “The University of Wyoming student health plan is funded entirely by student students participating in the health program. No state money is provided for the plan. The United Health Plan submitted the most competitive bid to the University of Wyoming, providing ACA compliance and affordable fees for students who elect to participate in the plan.”

“Governor Mead is pro-life,” Gray added.

This isn’t the only university that covers abortion in its health plan. As The Fix recently reported, Harvard University, Boston University, and the University of California, Los Angeles all have student health plans that cover elective abortions. Those schools also cover sterilization and contraception services, variously.

No officials at those universities were willing to comment on their school’s policies.

MORE: Universities’ student insurance plans cover abortion; schools don’t want to talk about it.

MORE: California bill would require public universities to provide students abortion pills

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About the Author
Chase Watkins -- Utah Valley University