Abortion travel – the new essential employee benefit

With the elimination of federal protection for female employees seeking abortion, companies are taking measures to protect their workers in the likely event that some states complicate matters for workers. Modifying the employee health plan and employee leave policy, if necessary, is considered the most effective way to attract and retain female workers in states that are affected.

This post lists key considerations in bullet point format.

  • From the employee medical plan perspective, nothing will change except the location of abortion services.
  • Some states’ abortion services facilities are expanding as a safe haven for abortions for women who live in other states who are expected to lose access to this service.
  • Employee benefit laws allow employers to cover the cost of the time off from work and travel to an out-of-state facility.
  • The new problem for workers is taking time off from work and the travel expense in getting to the out-of-state treatment facility.
  • Employment laws allow or require employers to treat time off from work for abortion the same as any other medical issue.
  • This travel cost can be paid as a tax-free employee benefit under a health reimbursement plan or another type of accountable reimbursement plan.
  • Lower-paid workers cannot afford to lay out money and wait for reimbursement, so additional benefit plan accommodations may be necessary.
  • Privacy and speed of response are key to making this benefit effective. A reliable third party employee benefit plan administrator is essential.
  • Large employers known for responsive employee benefits will be the first adapters of this benefit plan change while small employers usually lag the market in benefit plan changes.
  • Most of these benefit plan administrators who will provide this expanded service serve only larger employers.
  • Freedom Benefits can act quickly to modify an existing employee medical plan to add this feature to a small company or private employer down to just one employee.
  • Freedom Benefits may provide the complete service from the employee benefit plan design to electronic transfer of funds in the administration of the benefit to smaller private companies.
  • Cost savings in smaller company benefit plan administration is best accomplished by bundling services, especially with payroll accounting.

For more information, request a free consultation with our benefit plan adviser.

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