Immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, Australian tech giant Atlassian condemned the ruling for putting the health of pregnant people at risk.
”Starting today,” the software company said on Twitter, its American “employees living in states that have restricted or banned abortions will be offered reimbursement for travel and accommodations for themselves and a companion should they seek care outside their state.”
That approach from Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, a minority owner of the Utah Jazz, is not the norm in Utah, observes Kim Wittman, senior vice president of people and culture at the smart home company Vivint.
”Utah companies, as I’ve seen it, have not usually been on the cutting edge of leading out,” she said during a late June event held by Utah Tech Leads, “and I would say Vivint is not a company who you’re going to see kind of taking that leading edge.”
The Atlassian announcement was a strong one, said Owen Fuller, CEO at business template software company Lucidpress, which has since become Marq.
“When there are companies like that taking positions very publicly, it does prompt even more questions among an employee base for what is our policy, relative to this,” Fuller said, “and so my plan is to talk, to listen, and then we’ll see.”
Utah’s trigger law banning abortion in most circumstances is on hold during a legal challenge, following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the ruling underlying the right to abortion. Access now varies by state; abortion currently remains legal in Utah up to 18 weeks of pregnancy.
Here’s a list of what some of the state’s biggest employers are planning for a post-Roe Utah.
Intermountain Healthcare, which has more than 42,000 employees, does not currently have plans to pay for abortion-related travel for its employees, said Holly Nelson, a spokesperson for the company.
University of Utah
The University of Utah, which was the state’s largest employer in 2020, put out a statement while the trigger was briefly in effect that as a state-funded institution, it would no longer be able to provide abortions. In a typical year, it said, it performed about the procedure about 30 times. “The university (including our academic health care system) follows federal and state law,” the statement said.
A spokesperson for the university said it does not cover non-work travel expenses in general. And it’s unclear whether university employees on its insurance plan through Regence will be covered for out-of-state procedures.
“Coverage for abortion services varies based on state laws where our members live and their health plan benefits, and we are working to understand the implications of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision,” a spokesperson for the health care provider said.
Amazon has issued an internal statement that it will pay up to $4,000 annually for non-life-threatening medical travel expenses, including for abortion-related travel if the procedure is unavailable within 100 miles of an employee’s home, Reuters reported in May. It also said it covers up to $10,000 in travel reimbursements for life-threatening medical needs.
[Read more: Which Utah tech companies have the most employees?]
Adobe “will always prioritize inclusive benefits … for our employees and ensure they have reliable access to medical treatment in consultation with their healthcare providers. In the U.S, our healthcare plans offer consistent access to care and resources, independent of geography, which includes the coverage of abortion services and travel or lodging that may be required to obtain those services,” said an Adobe spokesperson.
Mountain America Credit Union
“For the past 15 years, our medical plan has covered abortion in the case of rape, incest, or risk of life to the mother. The Supreme Court’s ruling does not impact our medical plan,” said Sharlene Wells, a spokesperson for the bank Mountain America Credit Union. “We will continue to monitor the situation and ensure our employees have access to the necessary resources for their optimal health and safety.”
“Entrata is committed to providing comprehensive access to quality and affordable care for all of its employees, including family planning and reproductive care, regardless of where they live,” CEO Adam Edmunds said in a statement.
“We are working on a benefit for broader family planning purposes and reproductive care, but Entrata currently offers reimbursement for costs related to family planning and reproductive care up to $4,000 annually. This benefit is for employees who need access to health care and reproductive services, inside or outside of the state in which they reside,” Edmunds said.
Dick’s Sporting Goods
A spokesperson shared an internal memo with The Tribune which said, “If the state you live in restricts access to abortion, Dick’s Sporting Goods will provide up to $4,000 in travel expense reimbursement to travel to the nearest location where that care is legally available. This benefit will be provided to any teammate, spouse or dependent enrolled in our medical plan, along with one support person.”
Qualtrics, which provides software for making web surveys, announced that it would cover travel expenses. “We’ve expanded our health benefits to include up to $4,000 in annual travel expenses for covered services that are not available within 100 miles of home,” Zig Serafin, the CEO of Qualtrics posted on LinkedIn. “That goes for our employees in the U.S., and for their spouses, partners or dependents who are enrolled in our medical plan.”
“We are expanding the current coverage of our existing medical plans’ travel benefits to include reimbursement of travel costs for abortion services in accordance with applicable law,” said Beth Richek, a spokesperson for the company. “Wells Fargo employees have access to a national network of healthcare professionals who provide medical care to meet their diverse needs, no matter the state in which they live.”
“For Discover employees enrolled in BlueCross BlueShield, those medical plans will provide travel expense assistance for employees and their covered dependents to access certain reproductive healthcare and gender-affirming care, including abortion services,” said Sarah Grage Silberman, a spokesperson for Discover. “Travel expense assistance will be provided for these services where access to care is unavailable in a member’s home location.”
Goldman Sachs will cover travel costs for employees to travel out of state for an abortion or gender-affirming care, Reuters reported.
Target will cover abortions and abortion-related travel expenses, the Wall Street Journal reported.
A spokesperson for the airline SkyWest told The Tribune, “One of the many great things about working at SkyWest is that employees have access to both domestic and international travel privileges,” but didn’t comment further on the details of what costs precisely would be covered.
The rideshare service Lyft said it would legally defend its drivers that drove customers across state lines for abortions. Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors and don’t have company insurance, though for company employees that do: “Lyft’s U.S. medical benefits plan includes coverage for elective abortion and reimbursement for travel costs if an employee must travel more than 100 miles for an in-network provider,” the company said in statement.
Starbucks has added " a medical travel reimbursement benefit to access an abortion” and plans to expand coverage for gender-affirming care, the company said in a statement to its employees.
Smith’s did not respond to email requests for comment, though the grocery chain’s parent company Kroger has said employees could choose benefits that allow them to reimburse up to $4,000 in travel expenses for abortion and other reproductive health related travel expenses, WLWT5 News reported.
Home Depot and Lowes have been notably silent on the issue — they have not responded to The Tribune’s or many other media outlets’ inquiries. Walmart’s CEO recently announced that it is working on an announcement regarding abortion.
Leto Sapunar is a Report for America corps member covering business accountability and sustainability for The Salt Lake Tribune. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep him writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by clicking here.