Walmart expands abortion coverage for employees after Roe v Wade

Walmart expands abortion coverage for employees after Roe v Wade
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Customers outside a Walmart store in Torrance, California, U.S., on Sunday, May 15, 2022. Walmart Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on May 17.

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Walmart on Friday it told employees it will expand coverage for abortion and related travel, according to an internal memo. The change comes about two months ago. after the Supreme Court annulled the federal right to access the procedure.

Effective immediately, Walmart’s health care plans will cover abortion “when there is a risk to the health of the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or lack of fetal viability,” 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 costs covered if they are unable to access a legal abortion within 100 miles of their location, according to the email, which was sent by the chief of staff. of Walmart, Donna Morris.

Walmart is the nation’s largest employer with about 1.6 million employees and is based in Arkansas, where strict limits on abortion have already gone into effect. The company’s health care expansion comes months after Target, Apple and others expanded or reaffirmed abortion coverage. Still, Walmart’s policy decision is symbolic: The retailer’s more than 4,700 stores are located in small towns and larger cities alike, with about 90% of Americans living within 10 miles of a location.

Last month, the company’s CEO, Doug McMillon, sent an email to the entire employee saying that Walmart was “working carefully and diligently to find the best way forward” after the Supreme Court’s decision. Walmart at the time did not say what changes the company was considering.

The retailer previously offered more limited abortion coverage. According to the company’s employee handbook, charges for “procedures, services, drugs, and supplies related to abortions or termination of pregnancy are not covered, except when the mother’s health would be jeopardized 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 that previewed 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 “hearing from our associates about what’s important to them.”

“We strive to provide quality, competitive and affordable health coverage that supports you and your families,” he said in the memo.

Walmart’s home state of Arkansas is one of several that have a so-called “trigger law” designed to limit access to abortion immediately after the overturning of Roe v. wade. The state prohibits all abortions except those permitted to save a mother’s life.

The company did not immediately comment on the coverage expansion on Friday.

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