Walmart, the country’s largest employer, told its workers Friday it will expand abortion coverage as well as its reimbursement for those who need to travel for medical care.
The announcement comes about two months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, paving the way for state governments to severely limit abortion access across the country.
Effective immediately, Walmart’s self-insured healthcare plans will cover abortion when there is a “health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or lack of fetal viability,” the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer said in the employee memo, which was shared with WGB.
Previously, Walmart’s health care policy only covered abortion in cases in which the life of the mother or the fetus were in grave danger, according to media reports.
Further, Walmart said it will provide “travel support” for its employees and their covered dependents so they can access medical care if it’s not available within 100 miles of their location.
“Given how recent events are resulting in state-by-state healthcare environments, we will expand our travel coverage,” the retailer told its 1.6 million workers.
Companies including Starbucks, DoorDash, Grubhub and Yelp have expanded their travel coverage offerings to allow employees to access healthcare services following Roe’s reversal.
In May, National Co+Op Grocers said it had expanded its employee health services to offer travel benefits for those who must seek out abortion care.
“We call on other companies to join us in safeguarding the reproductive freedom and privacy of employees and upholding this basic human right,” the organization, which represents 148 member co-op grocers, said in a statement.
Walmart on Friday also said it is opening a Center of Excellence, scheduled to debut by January, to provide fertility-related services for employees, such as in vitro fertilization and egg preservation. The retailer also said it would offer surrogacy support as well as increased financial support for adoptions, growing from $5,000 to $20,000.
Walmart already has a Center of Excellence framework, providing coverage for certain heart, spine and joint surgeries, as well as cancer treatments, via independent healthcare providers, the company said.
“We continue to make well-being a priority at Walmart as the last few years have underscored the critical importance of taking care of ourselves and each other,” the retailer said in the memo.