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Walmart expands abortion coverage for workers after Roe v Wade

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Customers outside a Walmart store in Torrance, California, US, on Sunday, May 15, 2022. Walmart Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on May 17.

Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Walmart on Friday told employees that it is going to expand abortion and related travel coverage, in keeping with an internal memo. The change comes about two months after the Supreme Court struck down the federal right to access the procedure.

Effective immediately, Walmart’s health-care plans will cover abortion “when there’s a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or lack of fetal viability,” in keeping with the memo to employees, which was reviewed by CNBC.

Employees and their members of the family who’re insured through Walmart may even have travel costs covered, if they can’t access a legal abortion inside 100 miles of their location, in keeping with the e-mail, which was sent by Walmart’s chief people officer, Donna Morris.

Walmart is the nation’s largest private employer with about 1.6 million employees and is headquartered in Arkansas, where strict abortion limits have already gone into effect. The corporate’s health-care expansion comes months after Goal, Apple and others broadened or reaffirmed abortion coverage. Still, Walmart’s policy decision is symbolic: The retailer’s greater than 4,700 stores are situated in small towns and bigger cities alike, with about 90% of Americans living inside 10 miles of a location.

Last month, the corporate’s CEO, Doug McMillon, sent an employee-wide email saying that Walmart was “working thoughtfully and diligently to determine one of the best path forward” after the Supreme Court decision. Walmart on the time didn’t say what changes the corporate was considering.

The retailer previously offered more limited abortion coverage. Based on the corporate’s worker handbook, charges for “procedures, services, drugs and supplies related to abortions or termination of pregnancy usually are not covered, except when the health of the mother can be at risk if the fetus were carried to term, the fetus couldn’t survive the birthing process, or death can be imminent after birth.”

Morris included the abortion updates in a memo previewing Walmart’s open enrollment period, a time when employees enroll for advantages. She said the corporate prepared for the season and made changes after “listening to our associates about what’s essential to them.”

“We try to offer quality, competitive and accessible health coverage that supports you and your families,” she said within the memo.

The corporate can be launching a middle for fertility services and increasing financial support for adoptions from $5,000 to $20,000, in keeping with the memo.

Walmart’s home state of Arkansas is considered one of several with a so-called trigger law designed to limit abortion access immediately upon the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The state bans all abortions except those permitted to save lots of the lifetime of a mother.

The corporate didn’t immediately comment on the coverage expansion Friday.

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