Groom principal Christine Keller was quoted in the Bloomberg Law article “Companies Urged to Review Abortion Coverage With Roe in Balance” which covered the crucial questions being asked by employers about how their abortion coverage policies may be affected should the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, be overturned.

As described by Bloomberg Law, companies that Groom represents are already asking “do we have some exposure, do we have some liability, what do we need to do?” said Keller in an interview. Many health plans have been silent on whether they pay for abortion services, while some are explicit about abortion coverage but don’t include terms based on state legality of the procedure, Keller added, according to Bloomberg Law.

As reported by Bloomberg Law, Groom’s recommendation is that “plans put in, with some precision, what they’re paying for,” as well as precise information about what they are not, according to Keller. “States do have the ability and the authority to regulate providers, health-care providers, in their state, and the scope of the provider practice,” she continued, adding that services in a particular state may no longer be available to participants in the plan, but self-insured plans can’t change that, according to Bloomberg Law.

However, if a state attempted to prevent a self-insured plan from paying for travel to another state for abortion services, ERISA would likely pre-empt that state law, she remarked, adding that such a state law would go beyond regulating health-care providers, according to Bloomberg Law.

If abortion-related travel coverage is viewed as “a significant benefit in the nature of medical care,” participants in high-deductible health plans would have to meet their annual deductibles of at least $1,400 for individuals and $2,800 for families before the plan could pay for abortion-related travel, Keller said, according to Bloomberg Law. Plan terms can be changed during a plan year, and additional benefits must be disclosed to participants within 210 days after a plan year ends, while reductions in covered health services must be disclosed within 60 days of adopting the change, she concluded, according to Bloomberg Law.

To read the article, click here.


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