The Bulletin Board

Insurance carriers must cover mandated ultrasounds, commissioner says

By: - July 6, 2021 2:59 pm
People holding pro-choice signs at a rally

Some abortion rights supporters, including Democratic Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, had questioned whether the newly mandatory ultrasounds would create an additional cost burden. (Getty Images)

New Hampshire health insurance carriers must cover the ultrasounds mandated by the state’s new abortion law, the state Insurance Department said last week.

In a memo sent to all of the state’s health insurers and released to the public July 1, Insurance Department Commissioner Chris Nicolopoulos said insurers must treat the ultrasounds as a “covered service.”

New Hampshire’s new two-year budget – signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu in late June – includes a ban on all abortions after 24 weeks. 

That ban includes a requirement that doctors determine whether a fetus being considered for abortion has reached the 24-week threshold, requiring doctors to employ “all such medical examinations, imaging studies, and tests” as are reasonably necessary, including ultrasounds. 

Some abortion rights supporters, including Democratic Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington, had questioned whether the newly mandatory ultrasounds would create an additional cost burden for the insured. Warmington asked Nicolopoulos the question at a June 30 Executive Council meeting. 

In his letter Thursday, Nicolopoulos said the newly required ultrasounds fall under the type of care that must be covered.

“Determining the gestational age of a fetus is part of routine prenatal and maternity care, and therefore is a covered service,” he wrote. “Insurers must cover all necessary medical examinations, imaging studies, and tests required to make a gestational age determination.”

Separately at the Executive Council, state Medicaid Director Henry Lipman seemed to indicate that the ultrasounds could be covered under Medicaid. 

“Coverage of ultrasounds will be based on medical necessity,” he told the council. “That’s the criteria. So the position is if it were based on medical necessity, it would be covered. If there was an indication that it wasn’t medically necessary, then it might not be covered.”

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Ethan DeWitt
Ethan DeWitt

Ethan DeWitt is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s education reporter. Previously, he worked as the New Hampshire State House reporter for the Concord Monitor, covering the state, the Legislature, and the New Hampshire presidential primary. A Westmoreland native, Ethan started his career as the politics and health care reporter at the Keene Sentinel.

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