November 18, 2022

Confusion over Abortion Coverage Persists even in Deep Blue States


When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade earlier this summer it seemed as if lines in the sand had been drawn between deep blue states such as New York or California, where abortion would remain legal, and access to it protected further, and states such as Texas, bent on ever more restrictive laws proscribing or outright banning the practice. But in an odd twist, some workers in those deep blue states are realizing that their health insurance may not cover the practice.

This is what Gothamist reported on in August when it learned that workers who are living in New York, but may be employed by a company in a state where abortion is banned, may not be covered by their health care provider. In one example, someone who works for a New York-based non-profit learned that because her company utilizes a novel “co-employment” scheme with a company based in Texas, she is not covered for the routine procedure except in the case of serious risk to the mother. 

Co-employment is a cost-cutting measure, where another company “adopts” employees as their own. The practice is not the only thing complicating abortion access. Many companies that have employees in multiple states can purchase health insurance outside of New York, thereby not having to comply with New York coverage laws.

These stories have highlighted issues that have become more relevant since remote work really took off with the pandemic. It also brought to the fore the knowledge that New York State still has many areas in which it can improve no-cost abortion access to all citizens, something that both Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams have prioritized since the Dobbs decision. 

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