The Board of Trustees of Loyola Marymount University will convene Oct. 7 to discuss options regarding changes in its employee health insurance coverage, including the elimination of coverage of elective abortions.In an Aug. 13 letter to LMU faculty and staff, Board of Trustees chair Kathleen Hannon Aikenhead and university president David W. Burcham noted that for at least 25 years, the question of insurance coverage for elective abortions has been “an ongoing concern” at the Westchester university.“Consistent with our mission as a Catholic university, we have inquired on several occasions since then about our ability to exclude such coverage from our group health plans,” the letter said. “Until very recently, each time we inquired about the ability to exclude this coverage, we were informed by our healthcare consultants and carriers that we could not exclude this coverage from our health plans.”In fall of 2012, further inquiry produced “a similar negative response from our consultants” about both of LMU’s health care plans (from Anthem and Kaiser). The reason given was that both insurers were restricted from doing so based upon their approved fully insured contracts on file with the California Department of Insurance and the Department of Managed Care. “Very recently, however, we were notified that the information we had received in response to our fall 2012 inquiry was inaccurate,” Aikenhead and Burcham wrote. “In fact, without informing either our healthcare consultant or the University, Anthem had already removed this specific coverage from its LMU plan effective January 1, 2013. Further, Kaiser has now agreed to exclude this coverage from our Kaiser plan effective January 1, 2014.”The only benefit change in question, they said, “is to exclude elective abortions from our health plans.” All other procedures and services including those related to women's reproductive health remain in full force and effect.“The decision to exclude this coverage, once it became possible, flows directly from our values as a Catholic university in the Jesuit/Marymount traditions,” Aikenhead and Burcham stated. “Please know that we remain deeply committed to providing the best possible employee health benefits, while respecting the diversity of our campus and our Catholic and Jesuit/Marymount traditions.”This change will be “thoroughly discussed” by the Board of Trustees at the Oct. 7 meeting, they said. LMU faculty and staff were invited to comment on the change in writing, for the Board to consider before making its final decision.