Cincinnati-based Kroger is one of several Ohio corporations making access to abortion a little easier.
As Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval noted on June 27, Kroger has instituted an employee benefits package that can be used to fund travel for a variety of reproductive care, including abortion. In a statement, Kroger said that employees can take advantage of up to $4,000 in reproductive-related benefits. Kroger is the third largest employer in Ohio with about 42,000 workers, according to the Ohio Research Office.
"At The Kroger Family of Companies, we strive to ensure our associates have access to a wide variety of benefits that provide value in their lives today and in the future," the statement says. "We invest in the whole person with a comprehensive benefits package that includes quality, affordable health care and travel benefits up to $4,000 to facilitate access to quality care for several categories of medical treatments and a full range of reproductive health care services, including abortion and fertility treatments, for company-plan participants."
The corporation emailed its associates about the benefits earlier in June as the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization loomed. On June 24, the court ultimately reversed the privacy and bodily autonomy that Roe v. Wade had granted for nearly 50 years.
Pureval mentioned Kroger's travel benefits on June 27 as he announced that interim city manager John Curp is advancing a change in Cincinnati's health plan and human resource policies that would protect employees seeking abortion services and other healthcare and would reimburse employees for out-of-state travel costs related to those procedures.
The mayor noted that the city's reimbursement plan for reproductive healthcare would be similar to those at Kroger and other corporations. Curp added that the policy will cover abortion, birth control options, in vitro fertilization and care for transgender individuals and that the cost to the city would be similar to policies elsewhere.
"I also want to be clear that the city's travel reimbursement policy will not only cover travel for abortion-related services. This is about helping to make sure our city employees have access to any eligible medical care that isn't available here regardless of future statewide laws," Pureval said.
Under Cincinnati's new policy, employees would receive reimbursement for travel for healthcare if that care is not covered under the city's health plan and is unavailable or restricted within 150 miles of Cincinnati.
The nearest states without abortion restrictions include New York, Maryland and Illinois.After the reversal of Roe on June 24, Ohio banned abortion after six weeks gestation except in a handful of circumstances. There are no exceptions in cases of rape or incest, and doctors performing abortions can be charged with a fifth-degree felony.
Cincinnati City Council is expected to vote on the new healthcare legislation during its June 29 meeting.
Kroger is one of several large employers in the Buckeye State supporting employees with reproductive healthcare funds, reimbursements or other resources. Amazon, JPMorgan & Chase, Giant Eagle and the Cleveland Cavaliers also have indicated that they would reimburse employees for abortion-related travel costs.
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