“We have communicated directly with our staff today that we recognise the impact of this ruling and we remain committed to providing a full range of quality and affordable care for all of our staff, cast members and their families, including Planned Parenthood and reproductive care, no matter where they live,” Disney said in a statement to The Washington Post.
A raft of similar announcements from companies including Netflix, Paramount, Sony and Comcast on Friday underscored U.S. companies’ decision in the high court Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. But the moves could also expose companies to public backlash and legal liability in the rapidly changing reproductive rights landscape in the United States.
Dick’s Sporting Goods will reimburse employees, their spouses and dependents for up to $4,000 in abortion travel expenses Access restricted statesCEO Lauren Hobart announced on LinkedIn on Friday.
“We recognize there’s a lot of enthusiasm about this topic — and some teammates and athletes disagree with the decision,” Hobart said. “However, we also recognize that decisions involving health and family are very personal and well thought out. We made this decision so that our teammates have access to the same healthcare options no matter where they live, and choose what works best for them.”
URBN, the parent company of Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, made similar changes to its reproductive health care policy to ensure employees “have access to the full benefits offered by our health plan no matter where they live,” the company said in a statement told the Post.
Ride-hailing service Lyft said Friday that its U.S. health care benefit plan includes coverage for “elective abortion and travel expense reimbursement” if employees must travel more than 100 miles for in-network providers.
Lyft Commercial President Kristin Sverchek blog post.
Beginning in July, JPMorgan will expand travel benefits for any covered services that only get more than 50 miles from an employee’s home, the company told The Washington Post. The policy will apply to U.S. employees enrolled in its medical plan, as well as covered partners and dependents.
“As always, we are concerned about the health and well-being of our employees and want to ensure equitable access to all benefits,” said Patricia Wexler, corporate communications at the largest U.S. bank.
company been planning roe reversing weeks — Texas passed its own restrictive abortion law earlier this year since the court’s draft opinion leaked in early May.
Companies such as Apple have said it will pay for medical bills for workers in Texas who may have to go out of state to seek abortions. Salesforce offers to relocate workers. TikTok said it was “finishing updates” on employee benefits “to continue to provide our employees with the medical benefits they need.”
Amazon said in May that it would pay $4,000 in travel costs for U.S. workers seeking medical care, including abortion and gender-affirming procedures. But the policy only applies to employees enrolled in the company’s health care plan, excluding the gig workers and delivery drivers that keep the e-commerce giant alive.
The corporate chorus against the decision was centred between media and tech companies. But retailers — which make up some of the largest U.S. workforces, employing nearly 18 million Americans — have remained largely silent, with a few exceptions, according to IBISWorld.
Walmart, Target and Kroger did not respond to The Post’s request for any changes to employee health plans following the decision.
United for Respect, a nonprofit advocating for workers’ rights, called on Walmart to strengthen protections for its 1.6 million U.S. workers. The group emphasized that Walmart’s presence in the South, with abortion trigger laws in several states, gives the company “an opportunity and a responsibility to step up and ensure its employees are supported.”
“As the nation’s largest private employer, Walmart executives can set the standard for other companies by supporting their employees and providing adequate maternity leave, paid sick leave, and paying for employees who need to travel across state abortion services,” United for Respect said in a statement Friday.
Patagonia has offered to pay not only travel expenses, but also bail for employees arrested for “peacefully” protesting “reproductive justice” outside the Supreme Court.
Jen Stark, director of management consultancy BSR, said many other corporate HR executives and company officials have also been busy figuring out what to do.
Some companies have made internal announcements about expanding existing health benefits, including travel or abortion services, she said.
“I expect to see more announcements and more internal policy announcements made public in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Stark said.
For these companies, abortion is considered an organ transplant. This is specialty medical care that may not be available nearby or in the state, so insurance will help cover the cost of travel and paid sick leave.
“This is the mainstreaming of this kind of care,” Stark said.
Emily Dickens, director of government affairs for the Society for Human Resource Management, said employers will need to continue to comply with local, state and federal laws and regulations on abortion.
“New HRM research shows that nearly a quarter of organizations agree that offering a health savings account to pay for a trip to another state for reproductive health care will improve their ability to compete for talent,” Dickens said. “But how do these policies relate to State legal interactions are unclear, and employers should be aware of the legal risks involved.”
A key liability issue is whether employers are in legal danger if they pay for travel for employees in states that ban abortion.
In May, national law firm Morgan Lewis released a alarm With regard to employer considerations, if Roe v Wade was removed. There are particular risks in states such as Oklahoma and Texas, where legislation allows individuals to bring civil lawsuits against abortion providers and those who knowingly aid or abet “perform or induce an abortion, including through insurance to pay for or reimburse the cost of an abortion.” or others.”
“For example, if a company or company benefit plan reimburses Texas employees for abortions or related travel expenses received in a state that allows abortion, the company or company benefit plan may be considered to be in violation of Texas’s the law,” Morgan Lewis said. “The text of the regulations in Texas and Oklahoma does not clearly answer this question, and it is not clear whether such a provision would be supported.”
David Allen, a spokesman for AHIP, a trade association for health insurance providers, called the Supreme Court’s decision a “fundamental change” to abortion regulations and said insurers would work to provide coverage that complies with local regulations while meeting demand.
Employers who reimburse their employees for medical, surgical, and travel expenses related to legal abortions through their employer’s health plan or other arrangement enjoy certain protections under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, or ERISA.
But according to Kathryn Bakich, head of the national health compliance practice at the Segal Group, the ERISA precedence principle “may be left behind as courts try to overturn the trap set by the Supreme Court for employers. Roe v Wade. “
Benefits from abortion services to obstetric care to fertility treatment could be affected by the ruling, Bakich said. “Employers can hire employees in states that recognize abortion rights, ban abortion, or even criminalize assisted abortion. A key question to ask is “How can employers align employee benefits in states with such diverse health care laws?” “
On Friday, President Biden said his administration would protect the right to travel for legal abortions.
“If any state or local official, high or low, attempts to interfere with a woman exercising her basic travel rights, I will do everything in my power to combat that profoundly un-American attack.”
An earlier version of this story incorrectly suggested that Amazon’s warehouse workers may not be eligible for the $4,000 medical travel benefit. Warehouse workers are eligible for the company’s health care plan, which includes benefits.