Health benefits

Canadian insurance companies in the United States decide to extend health benefits after Roe v. wade

Abortion rights protesters protest outside the United States Supreme Court as the court rules in the abortion case Dobbs v. Women’s Health Organization, reversing the landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade on June 24.JIM BOURG/Reuters

Two of Canada’s largest insurers have joined a growing number of U.S. employers extending employee health benefits after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that will soon make abortion illegal in some states .

Sun Life Financial Inc. SLF-T and Manulife Financial Corp. MFC-T, which has significant operations in the United States, joins a wave of American companies, including entertainment giant Condé Nast, JP Morgan Chase JPM-N, Citigroup Inc. CN, The Walt Disney Co. DIS-N and Goldman Sachs GS-N – announcing that they will add new travel benefits to their employee group health plans to cover the cost of out-of-state travel for legal abortions.

Sun Life Financial has approximately 6,000 employees in the United States. The company will now offer all employees – and their dependents – who are enrolled in its group health plan a “Medical Travel and Accommodation Reimbursement Benefit” for any covered medical treatment or procedure that is not not available within 100 miles of their home, the company said. Friday.

“We strongly believe that everyone should have equal access to health care, and we support the right of every employee to receive medical treatment, no matter where they live,” said Sun Life spokesperson, Rajani Kamath, in an email to The Globe and Mail. .

Manulife said Friday it will cover travel, accommodation and other expenses for any employee, spouse or dependent traveling out of state, with a companion, “to ensure access to reproductive health care.” if the services are not provided in their original state.

“We also understand that access to reproductive health care is a deeply personal matter, and we believe that our colleagues should be given the opportunity to make the choices they believe are best for themselves and their families,” said the company said in a statement.

U.S. Supreme Court overturns landmark abortion decision Roe v. wade

The End of Roe c. Wade is the burning legacy of Trump’s presidency

On Friday, the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 decision that established the constitutional right to abortion and legalized it nationwide. The US court also voted 6-3 to uphold a Republican-backed Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The result could now lead to abortion bans in about half of the states.

Four of Canada’s five largest banks, all of which have operations in the United States, declined to comment or did not return requests for comment on their health benefits plans for U.S. employees. Royal Bank of Canada RY-T has approximately 14,000 employees in the United States, while Toronto Dominion Bank TD-T has 25,000 employees in its retail branch in the United States.

A Royal Bank spokesperson said it was “committed to supporting the health and well-being” of all employees and is “currently assessing the impact of this decision on options and benefits in health care available to our American colleagues”.

Many businesses in the United States were quick to react to the decision on Friday, as the ruling was released to the public earlier this year when US news outlet Politico published a document that showed a possible majority court ruling.

In early June, JPMorgan Chase informed its employees that it would add travel benefits for any covered service that can only be obtained more than 50 miles from home. Previously, the U.S. Bank’s health care travel benefits only covered a limited number of services that required travel, including organ transplants, but effective July 1, they will now include “all covered health care” that can only be obtained away from an employee’s home, including legal abortions.

It is not yet clear whether anti-abortion states will impose outright bans on their residents having out-of-state abortions, or even whether such laws would be constitutional.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, one of four justices who supported Judge Samuel Alito’s decision, said states have no right to prevent women from traveling to other states for abortions.

“Can a state prohibit a resident of that state from traveling to another state to have an abortion? he wrote. “In my opinion, the answer is no based on the constitutional right to travel between states.”

However, Judge Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion is not legally binding.

What’s even less clear is whether states can punish employers who pay for that trip.

In December, Missouri State Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman, a Republican, introduced a proposal that would allow citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone who helps a woman obtain one, even if it occurs outside of Missouri. The proposal didn’t pass, but it could still happen there or in other anti-abortion states.

“Companies are looking carefully at the extent of their benefits and to what extent there might be legislation that tries to restrict that,” said Teresa Johnson, partner at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP in San Francisco. The firm is part of an alliance of more than 20 regional and national law firms that are committed to providing free legal representation to women seeking abortion and to abortion providers.

“Travel limitations that would prevent people from traveling for abortions are just one of many cutting-edge issues in the post-Roe world,” she said. “It’s as if the list of questions that this single decision to invalidate Roe will raise is a parade of horrible things.”

With Friday’s ruling, attention has also turned to the ruling’s potential economic fallout, with many economists saying access to abortion is not just a social issue, but one that could impact impact on the US economy and women’s financial well-being.

Last September, 150 economists filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court arguing against the ban and outlining research on the effect of unwanted pregnancies on women’s education, labor market participation and income.

Among the research they cited was evidence that young women who obtained a legal abortion and delayed an unplanned start to childbearing by just one year saw their wages increase by 11% later in their careers. .

Similarly, research has also shown that access to abortion for young women who have experienced an unwanted pregnancy increased the likelihood of them completing college by almost 20 percentage points.

“We know from our research and other studies that reducing access to abortion is going to create many economic and financial hardships for women,” said Sarah Miller, assistant professor of business economics. and public policy at the University of Michigan and one of the economists to sign the amicus.

In a stunning 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court, with its conservative supermajority, overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade who legalized abortion in America – a move that potentially threatens the health and well-being of millions of American women.

Reuters

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