Walmart is partnering with a fertility startup to offer insurance benefits to help its workers expand their families.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is teaming up with a fertility startup to offer benefits as part of its insurance plan to help its workers expand their families.

The nation’s largest retailer and private employer said Tuesday it is partnering with New York-based Kindbody to offer benefits such as in vitro fertilization and fertility testing regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status.

Walmart employees will have access to more than 30 fertility clinics and IVF labs at Kindbody Clinics across the U.S., which will help eligible workers access Walmart surrogacy and adoption.

The expanded offerings, which will begin Nov. 1, are based 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 health care providers and institutions including the Cleveland Clinic and the Mayo Clinic .

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“Ensuring access to high-quality health care is very important to us, and we’ve heard from our partners that improving access to fertility, surrogacy and adoption support is a priority for them and their families,” said Kim Lupo, senior vice – the president. , Walmart Global Total Rewards

Walmart joins other large employers, such as Amazon, in helping employees with adoption or covering things like infertility treatment. More companies are adding these benefits in part to attract and retain workers in a tough job market.

But given its influence, Walmart’s expanded benefits should further democratize infertility treatments, which can cost thousands of dollars.

According to Gina Bartasi, founder and chairman of Kindbody, this “signals that maternity benefits are joining medical, dental and vision services as standard workplace benefits for leading employers.

The announcement of expanded maternity offerings comes after Walmart announced in August he expanded the coverage of abortion the following ruling of the Supreme Court which repealed the nationwide right to abortion.

Competition has become particularly tough for hourly or low-wage workers in the retail, hospitality and health care sectors, researchers at benefits consultant Mercer said. In these areas, a small increase in wages or benefits can cause people to leave for other jobs.

“These benefits are a way of kind of adding value without necessarily increasing wages by a significant amount,” said Julie Campbell, principal consultant in Mercer’s health and benefits practice.

Adding benefits that help with family planning can also make a company more attractive to LGBTQ employees.

“The path to parenthood can be challenging and expensive, and it’s not the same for all families,” said Lisa Woods, Walmart’s vice president of benefits.

Mercer’s annual employer survey tracks a big jump in companies offering a key fertility benefit, assisted in vitro fertilization, which involves creating embryos by mixing eggs and sperm in a lab dish.

The consultant found that in 2021, 36% of companies with 500 or more employees covered IVF treatment. This is up from 27% in 2020.

In years prior, the percentage of companies that offered such a benefit typically hovered between 20% and 22%, said Beth Umland, Mercer’s director of health and benefits research.

Relatively few employees can take advantage of the company’s help with adoption or infertility coverage, but those benefits mean a lot to the people who take advantage of them, Umland noted.

“It makes you an employer of choice when you provide that benefit,” she said.

Walmart employees, their spouses or partners, and any adult dependent children participating in a Walmart-sponsored health plan will receive up to $20,000 each over their lifetime for infertility treatment. Walmart employees — salaried, hourly and full-time store managers — will receive up to $20,000 in lifetime compensation to cover related costs of surrogacy and adoption services.

At Walmart Inc. employs about 1.6 million people in the United States. The Betonville, Arkansas-based company could not immediately provide the number of those eligible for the new fertility benefits.

Follow 5NEWS on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Download the 5NEWS app to your smartphone:

Stream 5NEWS 24/7 on the 5+ app: How to watch 5+ on a streaming device

To report a typo or grammatical error, please send an email and detail what story you mean.