Walmart will extend its healthcare benefits to women employees who wish to access the services of a doula during pregnancy. A doula is an individual with specialised training who offers assistance to women during their pregnancies. The coverage will be available across US, starting next month on November 1, 2023.
The employees enrolled in the company’s medical plan will be able to avail doula support with coverage extending up to $1,000 for each pregnancy. Additionally, the company intends to improve the promotion of this benefit and incorporate the expanded coverage information into this year’s annual health insurance enrolment materials.
The primary aim of the programme is aims to tackle racial disparities in healthcare and enhance the well-being of its employees and their infants. Additionally, it will assist the company in focusing on individuals, requiring certification from either the National Black Doulas Association or DONA International.
In 2021, Walmart initially introduced this coverage to its employees in Georgia, and the following year, the company, headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, extended this same benefit to employees in Louisiana, Indiana, and Illinois. It’s worth noting that Hawaii stands as an exception, as it maintains its own distinct set of health benefits, according to Walmart.
The company didn’t disclose the exact count of Walmart employees engaged in the programme to date, however, it emphasising that the biggest hurdle in implementing such coverage was educating employees about the roles and responsibilities of doulas.
Walmart, currently, also provides a ‘Life with Baby’ initiative that offers complimentary resources such as individual guidance from a nurse, tools for monitoring daily progress, and gifts for newborns.