USA – Walmart Inc., the largest private employer in the US, has said it will now cover fertility benefits under its insurance plan.
The nation’s largest retailer said it’s partnering with New York-based Kindbody to offer benefits such as in vitro fertilization as well as fertility testing regardless of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status.
Employees enrolled in its medical plan will get subsidies for in vitro fertilization, genetic testing, and intrauterine insemination at a network of clinics run by fertility benefits company Kindbody.
Walmart will also give employees financial support for surrogacy or adoption, up to a US$20,000-lifetime cap.
Walmart’s employees will get access to more than 30 fertility clinics and IVF labs across the US Kindbody’s clinics will be available to help eligible workers access Walmart’s surrogacy and adoption benefits, as well.
The expanded offerings, which start Nov. 1, build on Walmart’s so-called Center of Excellence model, which provides benefits and coverage for certain heart, spine, and joint surgeries and cancer treatments, in partnership with healthcare providers and facilities including the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic.
Walmart has joined Amazon and other large corporations in assisting employees with adoptions or covering fertility treatments.
In a tight labor market, more companies are adding these benefits to attract and retain workers.
However, given Walmart’s clout, the expanded benefits should help to further democratize fertility treatments, which can cost thousands of dollars.
The announcement of expanded fertility services comes after Walmart announced in August that it was expanding its abortion coverage in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling that abolished a nationwide right to abortion.
According to Mercer researchers, competition has become especially fierce for hourly or lower-wage workers in retail, hospitality, or healthcare.
A small increase in pay or benefits can entice people to leave for another job in those areas.
Walmart employees, their spouses or partners, and any adult dependent children enrolled in a Walmart-sponsored medical plan will receive up to US$20,000 in medical benefits toward fertility treatments over the course of their careers.
According to FertilityIQ, which provides research on fertility treatments, doctors, and clinics, one round of IVF in the United States can cost around US$23,000 on average.
Walmart Inc. employs approximately 1.6 million people in the United States. The company was unable to provide an immediate number of those who were eligible for the new fertility benefit.
Walmart employees — salaried, full-time hourly, and full-time managers in store eyeglass departments — will also be eligible for a US$20,000 lifetime reimbursement for eligible surrogacy and adoption services.
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