Jun 27, 2022 - Economy & Business

Companies scramble to adapt health benefits after Roe overturned

Illustration of a briefcase
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The overturning of Roe v. Wade means that U.S. employers — that provide health insurance to nearly 180 million Americans — must now contend with abortion; a controversial subject most have long tried to ignore.

Why it matters: Many large employers' insurance plans cover abortion, and now these benefits are suddenly political, the WSJ reports: Companies and insurers are now adding travel benefits so that workers can access care, but that opens up a raft of legal questions.

  • “We’re going to be in years of litigation over these issues," Kerri Willis, a senior vice president at Aon, told the WSJ.

The big picture: Before the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on Friday, "I don't know that it fully resonated with the private sector that corporations are now the backstop on women's ability to access abortion care," says Erika Seth Davies, the CEO of Rhia Ventures, a nonprofit advocacy group that also owns a venture fund investing in reproductive health.

State of play: Before the ruling, a handful of companies — including Yelp, Citi and Apple — said they'd pay for workers to travel to access the procedure in states where the practice was curtailed. More issued statements or sent internal memos after the ruling including...

  • Dick's Sporting Goods, JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Meta and Microsoft.
  • Statements from companies supporting the ruling are hard to find. (Have you seen any? Send them our way.)

Meanwhile, about 10% of employers exclude abortion coverage in some way from their health plans, according to a Kaiser survey from 2019.

What's next: Employers are changing benefit plans and prepping for legal battles, as well as possible backlash from politicians and others who support the ruling.

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