Cigna, Aetna among payers that will cover employees' abortion travel costs

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 and member access to abortion services through new "travel rider" policies.

Payers that will offer travel reimbursements for out-of-state reproductive care to its employees or members include Cigna, Aetna/CVS Health, UnitedHealthcare, BCBS Vermont, BCBS Massachusetts and BCBS Michigan.

To read the responses in full, click on the hyperlinks.

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. A spokesperson told Bloomberg the plan was in place before the Supreme Court's decision.

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 UnitedHealth Group's insurance division has drafted language to an employer health plan that says the policy will cover travel and lodging for employees who must travel to another state for healthcare not available in their state.

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 are planning to expand their travel reimbursement programs that provide employers with the option to cover travel for employees for healthcare services that are restricted in the states where 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.

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