Earlier today, the United States Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade and returned the issue of abortion to the states. We are still in the process of analyzing the opinion, but we are writing to highlight a few immediate issues for employers, and particularly for their group health plans.
Your State Law. Approximately 17 states have pre-Roe abortion bans or “trigger laws.” In those states, abortion will be impermissible soon, if not immediately. The substance of these laws varies. The starting point is knowing the law in the states where your company has employees.
Your Service Provider. Employer health plans rely on their service providers—insurance companies and third-party administrators—to adjudicate claims. We expect these service providers will be communicating with employers soon to explain how the claims process will handle state abortion bans. Will it matter whether the abortion ban is criminal or civil? Will it matter whether the plan is fully insured or self-funded? If you receive this sort of communication, we can help you understand how it applies to your specific plan.
Medical Travel Benefits. Many companies are considering paying for employees to travel to obtain medical care, including but not necessarily limited to abortion. We have designed these programs and can walk you through the available options, tax issues, and the legal limitations and risks involved.
Interpretive Scope. Health plans will have interpretive challenges in the days ahead. There is a great deal of concern about how this ruling will impact medication abortions, as well as medical procedures for miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and other pregnancy-related conditions.
If you have questions about how the Supreme Court ruling impacts your company’s group health plan, please contact any member of Venable's Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group, or your regular Venable lawyer.