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Companies announcing abortion-related benefits

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade, some major U.S. employers have announced new abortion-related benefits, including covering costs for employees who need to travel out of state to obtain abortion care.

Amazon, one of the nation’s largest private-sector employers, announced it will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for employees to obtain legal abortion care. Microsoft, Disney, Citigroup, and JPMorgan are just some of the other companies who’ve made similar announcements.

Some employers, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Warner Bros. Discovery, stipulated that travel benefits would cover employees as well as dependents covered under their health plans. Google and Salesforce’s announcements also mentioned employee relocation as a potential benefit option.

Many large employers already covered travel expenses for certain out-of-state medical care. Some are quietly adding reproductive and abortion care to that list, without any public announcement.

HSA and FSA accounts. Employees with access to HSA or FSA accounts can already use those funds to pay for eligible medical-related travel expenses. In an early June survey, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) asked whether knowing employees had that option would cause companies to adjust their HSA contributions. Most respondents (87%) indicated that information would not change their contribution practices, while just 3% said they would consider a decrease.

Legal implications. The potential legal ramifications of these benefits are unclear. In most cases, self-funded health plans (which are used by the majority of large employers) are not regulated by state laws. However, questions remain over whether a state’s criminal law could be applied to an employer that pays for an employee’s abortion-related travel.

Insurance benefits. Meanwhile, multi-state employers with fully insured medical plans should keep tabs on insurance regulations, particularly if their insurance is issued in a state with abortion bans or significant restrictions in place.