Insurers and employers were mostly searching for answers in the wake of the historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned the pivotal Roe v. Wade case that granted women a constitutional right to abortion, with some trying to calm the waters.
Most analysts and health care advocates said not much will immediately change following the ruling. But questions remained concerning insurance coverage, and also how the decision might impact other obstetrical, fertility, and birth control treatments.
“How do employers navigate providing family-friendly benefits coverage in a post-Roe society?” asked Kathryn Bakich, National Health Compliance Practice Leader at employee benefits consulting firm Segal. “ERISA preemption principles are likely to be thrown to the wolves as courts try to unwind the traps that the Supreme Court set for employers by overturning Roe v. Wade.”
Bakich warned that employers could have employees in states that recognize abortion rights outlaw abortion or even criminalize assisting with abortion.
'A crucial question'
“A crucial question to ask is: How do employers keep benefits consistent for employees in states with such diverse medical care laws?” she said.
Connecticut regulators, as some in other states such as New York, California, and Massachusetts, confirmed that the SCOTUS decision would not change things in their state.
“We will continue to ensure every Connecticut citizen has access to safe and appropriate health care,” Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais said in a statement. “This… decision does not affect your insurance coverage and does not change Connecticut law that allows for an abortion. Abortions are still legal in the state of Connecticut.”
Mais reiterated that if a woman has abortion coverage as part of their insurance plan, “coverage will be maintained.”
Still, confusion clouded the decision, particularly for companies in states that allow for abortion but have employees in states that do not, and vice versa.
Banking giant JPMorgan Chase told workers that it will pay for travel to states that allow legal abortions.
“Our health care plans have historically covered travel benefits for certain covered services that would require travel,” JPMorgan said in a statement. “Beginning in July, we will expand this benefit to include all covered services that can only be obtained far from your home, which would include legal abortion.”
Others, however, were concerned that the Court’s case was an opening salvo on restricting other rights and privileges.
Doug Bailey is a journalist and freelance writer who lives outside of Boston. He can be reached at [email protected].