Shortly after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and return the matter to the states, several companies released statements reaffirming their commitment to helping employees get abortions if these services are not available in their state by offering to reimburse them for travel expenses, sometimes up to $4,000.  Starbucks, Tesla, Yelp, Airbnb, Microsoft, Netflix, Patagonia, DoorDash, JPMorgan Chase, Levi Strauss & Co., PayPal and Reddit were among the first to announce their benevolent policy.  Soon others, including Disney, Meta, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Condé Nast, joined them though most of them avoided making public statements directly referencing the ruling.

However, a few did their best at virtue signaling, such as Johnson & Johnson whose formal statement read, “As the world’s most broadly based health care company, we strive to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities, and put health within reach for the people we serve,” adding. “We also believe health care decisions are best determined by individuals in consultation with their health care provider.”  Levi Strauss & Co. called on business leaders to take a stand against the ruling. “Protection of reproductive rights is a critical business issue impacting our work force, our economy and progress toward gender and racial equity, and given what is at stake, business leaders need to make their voices heard.”

A spokeswoman for JPMorgan Chase, the country’s largest bank, with about 170,000 U.S. employees, said the company was focused on equal access to health care for all its employees, highlighting a June 1 memo alerting employees that their travel costs would be covered if they needed to go more than 50 miles to receive certain medical procedures, including abortions.  And Reddit said, “Our benefits programs are designed to support the health and safety of our employees, and we also have robust policies to support women in the workplace.”

~ Doing the Math ~

So, what do all these woke companies have in common?  Has each long-championed women’s rights or perhaps they all believe in people before profits?  Perhaps, but consider that each uses a self-funded approach to health plans.  Now, without getting into a financial dissertation on the assumption & transfer of risk, allow me to explain 21st century health insurance in two bullet points.

  • Almost every large company in America uses a financial vehicle known as ‘self-funding’ for their health insurance, and
  • In layman’s terms, self-funding is a cost-plus approach to covering employees’ health claims wherein the employer takes on the cost of claims, while the insurance company or a third-party administrator manages the payment of those claims, but in each case, the money to pay the claim comes from the employer and not an insurance company.

Meanwhile, the most common form of abortion is a medical abortion, which terminates a pregnancy using oral medication.  Sometimes called the abortion pill that costs anywhere from $300 to $700 depending on where care is received.  However, this form of abortion is only effective during the first 10 weeks of your pregnancy.  After the initial 10 weeks, a woman would need a more expensive surgical abortion, which typically can cost anywhere between $800 to $3,000 depending upon circumstances.

At the same time and according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the national median charges for childbirth hospital stays in the United States is $17,300 ($13,600 for delivery and care for the mother and $3,700 for newborn care.)  We should note too, the average maternity leave in the U.S. is 10 weeks in length, and some companies continue to pay their employees while on leave, which according to the U.S Department of Labor averages between $650 – $1,200 per week, that extrapolates to $6,500 – $12,000 for the duration of the leave.

Assuming the employee works for the Grinch Company, a company that does not pay for maternity leave, the cost to the Grinch Company for a single pregnancy is $17,300 plus the administrative costs for handling the claim and any costs the company may incur to temporarily replace the employee for the duration of the leave.  However, if the woman works for the Very Generous Company, Inc., a company that does offer paid maternity leave, we must add between $6,500 and $12,000 in wages to the $17,300, increasing the total cost of the claim to between $23,800 and $29,300; and once again, this does not include the administrative costs for handling the claim nor any costs the company may incur to temporarily replace the employee for the duration of the leave.

So, allow me to ask a rhetorical question, are the companies that offer to pay the travel expenses to employees who must travel out-of-state to get an abortion being magnanimous or might they just be looking out for their bottom lines while virtue signaling to the world what a “noble” company they are?

Quote of the day:  ”The older I get the more wisdom I find in the ancient rule of taking first things first.  A process which often reduces the most complex human problem to a manageable proportion.”—Dwight D. Eisenhower

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