J. Craig Anderson’s article “Key health insurer in Maine drops elective abortion coverage” (Oct. 25) fails to explore an important point: comparative costs.

Community Health Options CEO Kevin Lewis said he could not estimate the specific amount that CHO would save by eliminating elective abortion coverage. But this is a question that deserves an answer. We know that it costs most private insurance companies less than $1 per enrollee per month to provide elective abortion coverage.

We also know that immediate costs incurred from unintended pregnancies exceed $11 billion a year, and a third of those costs are borne by private insurers like CHO.

How much will CHO save by dropping abortion coverage – and at what cost to their payers? As the number of women who desire abortion are denied CHO coverage and go on to have babies increases, all CHO insureds may well see their premiums rise even more than the imprecise “savings” to which Mr. Lewis referred.

Maine already imposes coverage restrictions mirroring those of the Hyde Amendment, a federal policy that creates all-but-insurmountable hurdles for this country’s poorest women to access abortion care.

Women have a constitutional right to comprehensive reproductive health care that is rendered empty as long as it remains inadequately acknowledged by payers – whether government-funded or private insurance. As an obstetrician-gynecologist, I implore CHO to reexamine its decision on both moral and business grounds.

Abigail Cutler, M.D.

New Haven, Connecticut