In the year since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade and states applied their own abortion regulations, new research shows some insurance companies are expanding coverage for employer health plans and abortion services.
According to data by the Kaiser Family Foundation, amid rising medical costs and the changing legal landscape of abortion, 12% of large firms (those with 200 or more workers) have added or significantly expanded coverage for abortion services. About 3% said they were reducing or eliminating abortion coverage.
The change in abortion laws across the country is forcing firms to rethink their business strategies leaving firms to walk a tightrope between remaining competitive and abiding by individual state laws, said Dr. Lee Revere, the chair of Health Services Research, Management, and Policy at the University of Florida and the College of Public Health and Health Professions.
“They also have to equitably provide coverage across all beneficiaries, even if they’re in different states. So they’re working to figure out how they can do both, and so that’s where some of these excess expenses potentially for travel might be covered by an insurance company,” she said.
For example, if a mother in Florida has family coverage through her employer, her daughter attending college in Georgia must receive equitable coverage for as a beneficiary despite being in a different state with different rules, Revere said.
“Much like a restaurant decides what to put on their menu to meet their consumers’ desires an insurance company has to meet all the legal requirements of what they have to cover, and then any additional services that they think may or may not be medically required or necessary,” she said.
Additionally, insurance companies are having to think about how to apply equitable coverage as state abortion laws fluctuate, such as in Florida, Revere said. The state Supreme Court’s upcoming decision regarding a 15-week abortion ban could potentially affect how insurance companies issue benefits, she said.
The KFF study also showed that 32% of large firms would cover legally provided abortions in most or all circumstances. About 18% said that abortions are covered only under limited circumstances, such as rape, incest, or health or life endangerment. Another 10% said that they would not cover abortions under any circumstance