Who pays for California abortions?

Starting in 2023 in California, all abortion-related related services, including consultations and follow-up care, will be free. A new law prohibits insurance companies from imposing deductibles, copayments or other cost-sharing upon an individual seeking an abortion. 

The California Health Benefits Review program estimates that the current average out-of-pocket cost is $306 for a medication abortion and $887 for a procedural abortion.

Medi-Cal, the state’s insurance program for low-income residents, funds the cost of abortion services with state money because the federal government, via the Hyde Amendment, prohibits most federal spending on abortion. California is one of 16 states to pay for abortions, and does so under court order

Under state law, abortion and related services are considered basic health care and must be covered by all insurance providers, with the exception of self-funded insurance. California and New York are the only two states to require private insurance to cover abortion.

Private insurance may require prior authorization, meaning the patient must seek approval from the insurer prior to getting the abortion, but insurers are not allowed to refuse.

According to a UC San Francisco study on out-of-pocket abortion costs, 7% of those seeking abortion had private insurance coverage, compared to 34% with Medicaid (in California, Medi-Cal) and 29% who received funding from other organizations.