Walmart expands worker abortion insurance coverage after Roe v Wade

Customers in front of a Walmart store in Torrance, California, United States, on Sunday, May 15, 2022. Walmart Inc. is expected to release earnings results on May 17th.

Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Walmart told employees Friday that it would expand abortion and related travel coverage, according to an internal memo. The change comes about two months after the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to access the trial.

As of now, Walmart’s health plans cover abortions “when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or lack of viability of the fetus,” according to the memo to employees, which was reviewed by CNBC.

Employees and their family members who are insured through Walmart will also have travel expenses covered if they cannot access a legal abortion within 100 miles of their location, according to the email, which was shared by Donna Morris, chief people officer by Walmart.

Walmart is the country’s largest private employer with around 1.6 million employees and is headquartered in Arkansas, where strict abortion restrictions are already in place. The company’s healthcare expansion comes months after Target, Apple and others expanded or confirmed abortion coverage. Still, Walmart’s policy decision is symbolic: The retailer’s more than 4,700 stores are located in cities and towns large and small, with about 90% of Americans living within 10 miles of a location.

Last month, the company’s CEO, Doug McMillon, sent an employee-wide email saying Walmart was “working deliberately and diligently to find the best way forward” following the Supreme Court decision. Walmart didn’t say what changes the company was considering at the time.

The retailer previously offered more limited abortion coverage. According to the company’s employee handbook, fees for “procedures, services, medications and supplies related to abortion or termination of pregnancy are not covered unless the health of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term, the fetus might not survive the birth process, or death would be imminent after birth.”

Morris included the abortion updates in a memo previewing Walmart’s open enrollment period, a time when employees sign up for benefits. She said the company prepared for the season and made changes after “listening to what our employees care about.”

“We strive to provide high quality, competitive and accessible health insurance that supports you and your families,” she said in the memo.

The company is also opening a fertility services center and increasing financial support for adoptions from $5,000 to $20,000, the memo said.

Walmart’s home state of Arkansas is one of several with a so-called trigger law that would restrict access to abortion immediately after Roe v. should restrict Wade. The state bans all abortions except those intended to save a mother’s life.

The company did not immediately comment on the expansion of the range on Friday.

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