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SACRAMENTO (AP) - Health insurance companies in California may not refuse to cover the cost of abortions, state insurance officials ruled.

The ruling is a reversal of policy stemming from the decision by two Catholic universities to drop elective abortions from their employee health plans.

The federal Affordable Care Act does not require employers to provide workers with health insurance that includes abortion coverage. However, the director of California's Department of Managed Health Care said in a letter to seven insurance companies on Friday that a 1975 state law prohibits them from selling group plans that exclude the procedure.

Jesuit-run Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University notified employees last fall that they planned to stop paying for elective abortions. The two schools said their insurers, Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente, had cleared the move with the state.

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