12 payer responses to Roe v. Wade reversal

Following the Supreme Court's June 24 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, payers across the nation issued responses that ranged from total denouncement of the decision to commitments to support employee access to abortion services.

Many payers released general statements that simply acknowledged the ruling and included a promise to comply with local and state laws, with additional details to follow regarding member and employee policies. Health systems and associations nationwide also issued responses to the decision.

Becker's compiled 12 payer responses. To read the statements in full, click on the hyperlinks.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont denounced the Supreme Court decision, saying the move will block healthcare access for millions of women. The payer said it is planning to offer a "travel rider" to members, or an offer to cover expenses for members forced to travel to receive care. The company also urged voters to support a state constitutional amendment codifying the right to abortion.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts said in a news release that it "believes strongly" that members should have access to care they need and want. The company said it is creating a travel benefit for employers to offer to employees who need to travel over 100 miles to obtain access to abortion services. The payer will reimburse certain travel and lodging expenses related to obtaining care, which will also be available to its employees who live in states where abortion is now restricted.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Care Network is planning to expand its existing travel reimbursement program that provides employers with the option to cover travel for employees for healthcare services that are restricted in the state they live, The Detroit Free Press reported June 30. The option will include coverage for abortion, maternity and reproductive services, and gender-affirming care. A spokeperson told the newspaper that no immediate coverage changes will occur for reproductive care in Michigan while an injunction against a state law banning most abortion is in place.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
"We are evaluating potential impacts from the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization relating to abortion services may have on our customers and members. Providing access to quality, cost-effective and equitable health care in the communities we serve remains at the heart of what we do."

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said she will do everything within her authority "to ensure that people have the choice of when and how to start a family." The federal agency said it will continue to maintain and expand access to IUDs, emergency contraception, oral contraception, other forms of contraception and abortion care within its legal authority.

A spokesperson for Cigna, which has employees in all 50 states, told the Stamford Advocate it currently offers all its employees and their families travel reimbursements for certain health services and will be expanding that offer to include abortion care, gender-affirming care and behavioral healthcare in states where access is restricted.

A spokesperson for Aetna/CVS Health told the Stamford Advocate it has "made out-of-state care accessible" for its employees who live in states with laws that limit access to care. The company said it is evaluating how to best support that policy in light of the Supreme Court ruling and that it will continue to provide its employees with access to out-of-state care.

UnitedHealth Group
"This decision will affect our employees and the people we serve in different ways, depending on where they live, what type of insurance coverage they have and their specific plan details. Our teams have been actively preparing for this decision. We are reviewing the court's opinion now and will communicate more information as soon as possible."

The Wall Street Journal reported June 24 that the company's insurance division has drafted language to an empoyer health plan that says the policy will cover travel and lodging for employees that must travel to another state for healthcare not available in their state.

"Through its diverse portfolio of businesses, Highmark Health is also committed to providing a complete range of high-quality health benefits and services to women at every stage of life, and that will not change with this decision. Once we have determined the best path forward, within the letter of the law, we will provide guidance and continued support directly to our customers, health plan members, patients, and employees."

Point32Health and its companies, including Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Tufts Health Plan, have added a travel benefit for members and employees to support access to reproductive and gender-affirming care for individuals that live in states where those services are restricted. The new benefit is immediately available to fully-insured and self-funded commercial plans with over 50 members. It will also be available to all employees that are covered under a company plan, according to a July 13 news release.

"We respect that our employees and members hold different views regarding the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade," the company told the Louisville Courier Journal. "While there are many questions left to be answered, we are focused on supporting the health of our employees, members, and others, and we will continue to assess the implications of the ruling where we operate. As part of Humana's employee benefits package, employees have access to reproductive care coverage and services. Our benefits team regularly assesses employees’ coverage and benefits and will continue to do so."

UPMC Health Plan
Will my UPMC Health Plan coverage pay for abortion/reproductive care services in another state?

A: While the Supreme Court decision has not changed the terms of coverage for these services under your plan, rules for both providers and health plans can vary from state to state. Some states do prohibit providers from performing abortion services and other states prohibit health plans from paying for those services. There are no changes to the rules for reproductive care providers or health plans in Pennsylvania. We are working to prepare additional coverage information for our members who are located outside of Pennsylvania and will share this information as soon as we can.

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