What does your employer’s abortion support look like? It’s complicated.

Many companies, quick to announce abortion aid policy after last month’s Supreme Court decision to Roe v. Wade. to nullifywere vague — many offered travel benefits, but few imposed a plan on how workers could access such a benefit.

“It’s important for companies to structure this so that an employee has to disclose as little as possible,” said Brietta R. Clark, a law professor at Loyola Law School.

“Ideally, companies should make this as easily and widely available as possible without anyone having to reveal private information about their particular medical condition or treatment,” said Clark, an expert on health law and inequality.

NBC News reached out to more than 20 companies announcing they would offer benefits to workers who would have to travel the state to access abortion, asking how exactly the policy would be implemented, who would cover the policy, and whether the systems were already in use instead.

Amazon, Meta, Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Apple, Bumble, the NBA and WNBA, Zillow, Tesla, Starbucks and Airbnb did not answer the questions.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, CVS and Microsoft referred to their previously released statements, which did not address the questions.

Netflix spokesperson Bao Nguyen replied that the policy is available to all full-time employees and has been implemented in recent weeks. Nguyen said employees would go directly through health insurance for travel reimbursement and they would not have to disclose the reason for their time off.

“We have a flexible leave policy, where employees take the days off they need (rather than requesting HR or their manager),” Nguyen said.

An H&M spokesperson said the company’s “employee financial assistance program is intended for eligible U.S. workers who may reside in a state that restricts or prohibits abortion services.”

According to the company, part-time and full-time employees are eligible, and “employees can apply for emergency assistance in confidence from this fund by submitting an application online through an internal web portal.”

LiveNation also said the process of applying for the benefit would be confidential.

SAP, the software company headquartered in Germany and more than 105,000 employees worldwide, has prepared the most comprehensive plan.

The policy went into effect on Friday, June 24, said Jackie Montesinos Suarez, chief communications officer for SAP North America.

Each employee, part-time and full-time and subject to GSP insurance, is eligible for up to $5,000 for travel expenses and can travel for care to any US state.

“This is the same thing we offer to workers who need transplants,” Montesinos Suarez said.

Employees and dependents can go directly to the insurance company to access the benefit. “HR or anyone at SAP is not part of the refund process,” said Montesinos Suarez.

“The feedback from the employees has been overwhelmingly positive,” she added.

Companies that promise confidentiality and processes that allow an employee to go through a third party, avoiding human resources and management, have the right intentions, said Paula Roy, an HR vice president with more than 30 years of experience. But employees will go to HR anyway, potentially holding the company and the employee liable for privacy rights violations.

Employees usually start with HR because they’re looking for HR to “guide them to the right source,” Roy said.

“It always goes through HR first, even if there are things that people can get directly from the PEO (a corporate outsourced human resources support company) and don’t need our help.”

A Disney employee, who wished to remain anonymous to talk about a sensitive topic, agreed.

“I would go to HR first,” she said. “Because it’s a huge company and it’s hard to find answers in advance without having to talk to multiple people.”

“Big media companies, they provide links and stuff to your benefits and that, but that’s about it,” she said. “So it’s a lot of stuff you have to dig out yourself.”

The employee said she would feel “quite uncomfortable” going to HR for help with abortion access, “because it’s such a very personal matter.”

“It shouldn’t be anyone else’s business,” she added.

But for employees who don’t know they can go directly through insurance or their PEO, and employees who need help from HR to browse complicated benefits websites, their company becomes the business of others, Roy said.

“Is this going to go through the people on the payroll? A human resources employee?’ she asked. “HR people are quite professional and don’t share the things they shouldn’t, but there’s no guarantee.”

“Information should be shared even if you don’t share the details,” Roy said. For example, a manager should know that an employee needs several days off for travel and recovery.

“I think there’s a lot of concern about who should know, who might be sharing information, and who should keep records and discoveries about that data,” she said.

But Clark said, “HR never needs to document.”

“An employee’s question about ‘where can I get resources?’ should not be documented,” she said.

“If you want employees to feel comfortable accessing out-of-state health care funds, don’t be an exception to abortion,” she added. “I think we should consider structuring this in a way that recognizes that transportation for medical care is critical to access, and let’s not demand that women who need reproductive health care go through special hurdles or do anything that interferes with their medical needs. exceeds health needs.”

Clark said she “applauds” the companies that set up abortion benefits for employees in a way that “supports their medical privacy and protects them.” But she acknowledges that the companies may be opening up to attempts by states to prosecute them criminally or civilly, even if they can eventually defend themselves against such actions.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has already said he plans to sue companies that provide money for out-of-state abortion care.

“If a state specifically makes a law that says insurance plans can’t fund abortion services,” some employers may be bound by these bans, Clark said. Others, especially self-insured employers, may be able to circumvent the law because of federal priority under ERISA, a federal law that protects individuals covered by private insurance plans.

Health insurance policies must also comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a law that protects the privacy of patients’ health information. But there are exceptions that allow disclosure when required by law, such as through a court order or a mandatory reporting system.

However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently updated the language on HIPAA, stating that the privacy rule “supports such access by giving individuals confidence that their protected health information, including information related to abortion and other sexual and reproductive health care , will be kept private.”

In addition, Clark pointed out, in agreeing to the quashing of Roe v. Wade, Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote, “…may a state prohibit a resident of that state from traveling to another state to undergo an abortion? In my view, the answer is no based on the constitutional right to travel between states.” Clark said this could be one of the strongest limits to states’ efforts to prevent women from seeking abortions beyond their own borders.

“There are a lot of lawsuits coming up where we will find out what laws will come into play and how much protection they provide,” Clark said.

“The reality is,” Clark added, “regardless of the strength of legal defense companies may have, the threat of liability, the threat of criminal prosecution, have a chilling effect.”

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