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CVS Health, Cigna Signal Support for Coverage of Abortion

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The companies issued statements referencing out-of-state abortions and travel benefits. Both are in headquartered in states with strong abortion rights laws.

As many health insurers wrestle with how to handle cover of abortion in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to overturn Roe v. Wade, a few payers have already voiced their commitment to continue to cover the procedure.

Two payers with major national footprints – Aetna and Cigna – have both pledged to support the right to choose.

CVS Health, the parent company of Aetna, said in a statement: “We will continue to provide colleagues, clients, and consumers with the flexibility to choose medical and pharmacy benefits to best suit their needs. This includes, subject to plan terms and customer direction for self-funded plans, making out-of-state abortion healthcare services more accessible and affordable.”

In a statement, Cigna said: “We will continue to do everything we can to support our customers, clients and employees in accessing affordable, high-quality healthcare. Employers are deeply invested in the health and well-being of their people, and they understand their unique needs. We’ve long held the philosophy that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to health coverage, and we will continue to partner with each of our clients individually to provide meaningful options, which include travel benefits.”

Both CVS Health, based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, and Cigna, in Bloomfield, Connecticut, are headquartered in states that affirmed their commitments to abortion rights. Rhode Island in 2019 enacted a law upholding a woman’s right to have an abortion.

Connecticut this spring passed a law declaring the state a “safe harbor” to protect women from out of state who want an abortion. The law takes effect July 1.

Other payers are still determining how to navigate the Supreme Court decision.

“While there are many questions left to be answered, we are focused on supporting the health of our employees, members, and others, and we will continue to assess the implications of the ruling where we operate,” Humana said in a statement. The payer is based in Louisville, Kentucky.

Kentucky has a “trigger law,” banning abortions, but a circuit court judge temporarily blocked it Thursday. Judges in at least three other states have also temporarily blocked trigger laws, according to USA Today.

“We have a lot more questions than answers at this point,” says Alexandra Lucas, a partner who works in the Chicago office of the law firm ReedSmith and works with a number of health plans.

Lucas

Lucas

Among the open questions are whether payers will run into issues if they cover a member who lives in a state where in an abortion is banned, and then travels to another state to get the procedure.

It’s unclear “whether states can regulate outside of their borders,” Lucas says.

Payers need to understand both the laws in the location where they operate, as well as where their members are located, she adds.

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