Overview on recent changes to employee benefits following U.S. Supreme Court abortion ruling
Last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which overturned the constitutional right to abortion (Roe v. Wade), has left thousands of women across the country unsure of where to find appropriate care and abortion expenses.
Below is an overview of the recent changes to employee benefits in lieu of the ruling. For a full explanation, please read our latest handout.
Medical care expenses for individuals plus increased mileage rate
For individuals who seek medical treatment in a city or a location hundreds of miles away, there are expenses they can use for transportation, meals, and lodging. All expenses obtained for this service, though, must be primarily for and essential to medical care.
It’s important to note the mileage rate for traveling to obtain medical care also. At the start of every year, the IRS announces the standard mileage rate for this type of service. The standard rate was 18 cents per mile from January 1, 2022, through June 30, 2022. However, due to increased gas prices, the rate rose to 22 cents per mile from now until the duration of the calendar year.
What qualifies as expenses involving transportation to and from medical treatment sites?
Individuals may only benefit from transportation costs obtained to and from medical treatment sites when it’s via taxis, buses, trains, airplanes, rental cars, and rideshare services (such as Uber or Lyft). In addition, transportation to a medical treatment site only qualifies if it’s to treat a specific ailment or disease.
Qualifications for meal and lodging expenses
The only way meal expenses count as expenses for medical care is if they are provided at a hospital or a similar institution where an individual is receiving care. Therefore, meal expenses away from home while an individual seeks treatment is not eligible.
Lodging expenses can be reimbursable as well, however it must meet 1 of these 3 requirements.
- If incurred primarily for and essential to medical care
- If the medical care is provided by a physician in a licensed hospital (or in a medical care facility related to one)
- If there is no significant element of personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation
Lodging expenses can be reimbursed at a maximum amount of $50 per day per individual.
Travel costs associated with abortion care
With the need to travel for abortion services on the rise, many companies have installed abortion travel benefits to their benefit package to help with travel costs. The expenses for abortion travel benefits cover ground transportation (bus, taxi, train), airfare and lodging (individual or two people).