Home Headlines Headlines Large employers face tough hurdles to provide abortion benefits if Roe is overturned English Headline

Headlines Large employers face tough hurdles to provide abortion benefits if Roe is overturned English Headline

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Kim Nguyen felt a sense of pride last fall when her bosses at Alloy committed to pay travel expenses for workers in Texas if they needed to access abortion services, after the state passed new restrictions.

“These types of things, especially around equity, diversity, inclusion, access to reproductive rights, [are] front and center for me personally. And it’s so amazing that the company sees that as well,” said Nguyen, vice president of people at Alloy.  

The founders of the New York-based fintech start-up have pledged to expand the travel benefit, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

“Our stance is always to think about how we can look after the folks who work at Alloy, if some other institution is not,” said Tommy Nicholas, Alloy CEO.

Since the leak of a Supreme Court draft ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — the case that would toss out Roe v. Wade — a growing list of large employers have pledged to maintain abortion access for workers and family members. Companies including Citigroup, Salesforce, Starbucks, and Amazon have said they will provide travel benefits for those who need to travel out of states where access is restricted or banned.

Starbucks to cover employees’ travel expenses for abortions, gender-affirming surgeries

2020 benefits analysis by Equileap, a data firm devoted to promoting gender equality. About half of those firms cover elective pregnancy termination, while a quarter specify that they would cover the procedure if the health of mother is at risk, or in cases of rape or incest. Now, though, many companies may be revisiting their policies.

“Most — not all — but most employers that recruit on a national level are trying to figure out ways to have a continuation of the medical service,” said Owen Tripp, CEO of Included Health, formerly known as Grand Rounds and Doctor on Demand. “The challenge is that they need to sort of put a process in place whereby an employee can raise their hand and say, this is something that I would like to take advantage of.”

At Alloy, the company’s health-benefits provider was not prepared to administer the travel program. So, employees will have to work directly with the company’s human resources team, which has designed a process with the finance department that will protect the worker’s privacy in the same way they would in regard to any other medical issues.  

Tripp of Included Health says large employers that his company works with have tapped the firm’s navigation service to help administer abortion travel benefits. But in some cases that’s all they’re doing.  

“There are a couple large employers that we work with that actually only want to cover the travel portion, but they’re not going to cover the medical benefit,” said Tripp. “I think you’re going to see some nuances in how employers tackle that issue.”

Disney executives discovered after Florida’s so-called “Don’t say Gay” bill, companies now risk pushback from all sides, whether they take a stand or not when it comes to hot-button social issues like sexual orientation and abortion.  

“Being a corporate citizen in America right now, you have to be able to define for yourself, your character in this country, and how you’re going to be perceived,” said Hohimer. “I don’t know that every employer is going to be treated fairly or revered for whichever side of this they come out on.”

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June.


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