After the fall of Roe v. Wade, many companies across the US announced they would cover travel costs for employees seeking out-of-state medical care.
Employer health insurance falls into two categories: fully-insured plans and self-insured plans. A fully-insured plan is when an employer purchases health coverage from a state-regulated insurance company.
By comparison, companies with self-insured plans pay for employees' medical bills directly. Approximately 64% of US workers were covered by self-funded health insurance plans in 2021, according to Statista.
State laws — including those that outlaw insurance providers from covering abortions — can only regulate fully-insured plans. Companies with self-insured plans are "free to make whatever coverage decisions they want," Sara Rosenbaum J.D., a professor and founding chair of health law and policy at George Washington University's school of public health, told Insider.
"The woman may have to travel and [the provider] would have to make clear that that they'll let you go out of network for the care," she said. "But they could certainly cover it."
Currently, only eleven US states have laws that prohibit abortion coverage from being included in fully-funded private insurance policies, according to health policy nonprofit KFF.
"So there are some states that will ban abortion, but that have not banned coverage," Laurie Sobel, the Associate Director for Women's Health Policy at KFF, told Insider, adding that it's "probably a matter of time" before those states ban insurance coverage as well.
When it comes to federally-funded health insurance, coverage is only offered in very specific cases. Due to the Hyde amendment, federal funds can't be used to pay for abortions. That means Medicaid is unable to cover abortions unless the pregnancy is life-threatening or resulted from rape or incest.
Questions to ask your employer or insurance provider in the post-Roe era
While employers have largely focused on travel costs in their corporate responses to the fall of Roe v Wade, there are other logistical hurdles companies need to consider in order to ensure their employees have access to out-of-state care, Sobel told Insider.
"It's important to look at the structure of the plan. So what is the deductible? What is the copay? What is the network?" she said. "If abortion is now illegal in the state that you reside in, then there needs to be some contract with the clinic out of state."
If the out-of-state abortion provider is not in-network, the deductible could be more expensive than the procedure itself, she explained.
"Even employers who have the best of intentions and are trying to cover this, it will be challenging just to make it actually work in a way that the person doesn't have to pay out of pocket," Sobel added. "For many workers, paying out of pocket won't be financially feasible."
Here are five questions Sobel recommends asking your employer or insurance provider in order to determine the extent of your plan's abortion coverage:
1. Is abortion covered?
2. Are there any restrictions?
3. Does the deductible apply?
4. Is there cost sharing?
5. Are there out-of-state abortion providers in network?
Department providing another nearly $1 billion boost to schools for purchasing food
WASHINGTON, June 30, 2022 – The Biden Administration announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide nearly $1 billion in additional funding to schools to support the purchase of American-grown foods for their meal programs. The department also applauds the President’s recent signing of the Keep Kids Fed Act, which equips schools, summer meal sites, and child care food programs with extra resources so they can continue serving children through school year 2022-2023. Both actions are a response to the significant challenges child nutrition program operators continue to face, such as high food costs and supply chain disruptions.
“The Biden Administration knows that ongoing impacts of supply chain issues and rising food costs continue to be a challenge for many schools and child nutrition operators, and we are thankful for Congress stepping up to ease some of their burdens,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “On our end, this funding boost is yet another step the Administration is taking to ensure every child who needs a meal, gets one. No matter the circumstances, USDA and all our partners must continue collaborating to provide our young ones with the healthy meals they count on.”
The $943 million boost from the department is provided through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation. Funds will be distributed by state agencies to schools across the country, so they can purchase domestically-grown foods for their meal programs. This assistance builds on the $1 billion in Supply Chain Assistance funds USDA previously allocated in December 2021, which states can use this school year as well as next to provide schools with funding for commodity purchases.
The Keep Kids Fed Act will also provide assistance to program operators across the country by:
Extending nationwide flexibilities to summer meal programs through September 2022, including allowing sites to continue serving meals in all areas, at no cost to families;
Providing schools with an additional temporary reimbursement of 40 cents per lunch and 15 cents per breakfast, and child care centers with an extra 10 cents reimbursement per meal;
Providing all family day care homes with the higher temporary reimbursement rate for school year 2022-23;
Equipping USDA with additional flexibilities to support schools, as needed, based on their local conditions.
This new authority does not allow all students to eat school meals free of charge in school year 2022-2023. Nonetheless, the department will continue providing other program flexibilities within its existing authority, such as:
Equipping schools and program operators to quickly respond to health-related safety issues by offering grab-and-go and/or parent-pickup of meals; and
Extending deadlines for districts to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision, which allows schools serving many high-need students to provide all meals for free without collecting applications from families.
For next school year, in most school districts, families will need to complete an application through their school to determine if their household is eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, as was done before the pandemic. USDA is also supporting the expansion of direct certification, which uses existing data to certify children for free or reduced-price meals without an additional application. All states are required to directly certify students for free meals if their household receives SNAP benefits, and some states also directly certify for free and reduced-price meals based on participation in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations or Medicaid. States that are interested in participating in the Direct Certification for Medicaid demonstration project are invited to respond to the current request for applications (PDF, 649 KB), which closes on September 30, 2022. In school year 2019-2020, 1.4 million students received free and reduced-price meals thanks to direct certification through Medicaid.
“USDA is working alongside our child nutrition partners to support them in delivering vital, nutritious meals to tens of millions of children every school day,” said Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary of food, nutrition, and consumer services. “There’s a long road ahead, but the extra support and funding for our operators will help them continue to serve our children well. We can – and will – overcome these challenges, together.”
For additional information, please see:
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.
Aron Baynes’ NBA comeback attempt might just occur with his former team in the Boston Celtics.
Baynes held a workout in Las Vegas on Friday for teams around the league after missing all of last year due to a spinal cord injury. Baynes suffered the baynes-work-nba-teams-las-vegas-one-year-spinal-cord-injury">major injury when he fell in the bathroom while playing for the Australian national team in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The nine-year NBA veteran spent almost two months in hospitals in Tokyo and Brisbane learning how to walk again, per ESPN.
Now, Baynes, who played two seasons with the Celtics from 2017-2019, is trying to entice teams to take a shot at him, and a celtics/aron-baynes-fall-workout-las-vegas/">reunion in Boston isn’t out of the question, according to well-connected Heavy.com writer Steve Bulpett.
“I can see a fit in Boston,” a source told Bulpett. “They’ve already got (Rob) Williams and Al (Horford) and the other Williams (Grant) when they want to go smaller. They wouldn’t be asking a lot from (Baynes). He played for Brad (Stevens), so it’d be a bit different with (Ime) Udoka, but I wouldn’t see that as any problem.
“It’s just a matter of what direction Boston wants to go. I can see them waiting a bit, too. There are some bigs that could become available as other moves get made.”
Bulpett noted not only the history Baynes has with Stevens, but also the connection the 6-foot-10 center has with Udoka. Baynes’ first three seasons in the NBA came with the San Antonio Spurs, where Udoka was an assistant on Gregg Popovich’s staff at the time.
Baynes tallied 5.8 points and 5.1 assists in 17.5 minutes per game during his time with the Celtics, and if he does end up in Boston, he will look like a much different version of himself. Baynes averaged less than one 3-pointer per game during his Celtics’ tenure, but now focuses more on that area of his game. During the 2019-20 season with the Phoenix Suns, Baynes attempted 4.0 three-point attempts per game.