Consider legal issues before changing benefits or offering travel reimbursements.

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, you probably heard of many large employers saying they will now cover employees' expenses if they need to travel to another state to receive an abortion. Nike, Disney, Apple and Bank of America were just a few who publicly announced this benefit.

But if you plan to join this group, take note: It's not as simple as just writing checks to pay for employees' travel and health care. Much depends on the law in states where employers and employees are located.

Some 26 states have already restricted women's abortion rights or are poised to do so soon. In some of those states, it will be illegal to help a woman obtain an abortion, no matter where the procedure occurs. How employers' benefits plans are structured may also affect their ability to reimburse employee abortion-related expenses.

In general, group health plans can reimburse employees when they must travel to receive medical care. Self-insured health plans have more leeway to cover abortion costs because they are governed by federal law -- ERISA. That means individuals in certain states can't be prosecuted for assisting an employee with her reproductive care.

But fully insured health plans are subject to the laws of the state in which they are licensed. If a state outlaws helping a woman receive an abortion, individual...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT