Customers outside a Walmart store in Torrance, California, U.S., on Sunday, May 15, 2022. Walmart Inc. is expected to release earnings figures on May 17.
Bing Guan | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Walmart told employees Friday it will expand coverage of abortion and related travel, according to an internal memo. The change comes about two months after the Supreme Court struck down the federal right to access the proceedings.
Effective immediately, Walmart’s health care plans will cover abortion “when there is a health risk to the mother, rape or incest, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or lack of fetal viability,” according to the memo to employees, which was reviewed by CNBC.
According to the email sent by Walmart’s Chief People Officer Donna Morris, employees and their relatives insured through Walmart are also covered for travel expenses if they cannot perform a legal abortion within 100 miles of their location.
Walmart is the nation’s largest employer with approximately 1.6 million employees and is headquartered in Arkansas, where strict abortion limits are already in place. The 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 both small towns and larger cities, 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 thoughtfully and diligently to find the best way forward” following the Supreme Court decision. Walmart did not say at the time what changes the company is considering.
The retailer previously offered more limited abortion coverage. According to the company’s employee handbook, costs for “procedures, services, medications and supplies related to abortion or termination of pregnancy are not covered, except where the mother’s health would be compromised if the fetus were to term, the fetus could be involved in the birth process.” not survive, otherwise 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 was preparing for the season and making changes after “listening to our employees about what’s important to them”.
“We strive to provide quality, competitive and accessible health coverage that supports you and your families,” she said in the memo.
Walmart’s home state of Arkansas is one of many with a so-called “trigger law” designed to limit access to abortion immediately after the annulment of Roe v. Wade. The state bans all abortions except those allowed to save a mother’s life.
The company did not immediately comment on the coverage expansion on Friday.