Walmart Inc. is expanding its benefits to include coverage of doula care for employees under its medical plan in Georgia.

The company recently announced it was providing up to US$1,000 per pregnancy for all its employees in the southern U.S. state. For employees to obtain the coverage, the doulas must be credentialed through either DONA International or the National Black Doula Association. “Providing these benefits to our [employees] in Georgia is one of the many ways Walmart is innovating solutions that make health care more affordable and equitable,” said Lisa Woods, Walmart’s vice-president of physical and emotional well-being, in a press release.

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The retailer is choosing to roll out the offering in Georgia first in order “to leverage [its] network of health-care resources to create immediate positive impact in supporting healthy pregnancies.” In September 2019, the company opened its first health centre in Dallas, Ga., which offers services such as primary care, laboratory services, X-ray and electrocardiograms, counselling, dental, optical, hearing and community health, as well as health insurance education and enrolment help.

Last month, Walmart also announced it was introducing a new benefits platform that provides comprehensive care for LGBTQ2S+ employees in the U.S. Through its partnership with Grand Rounds Health, employees on the organization’s medical plan and their covered dependants will have access to Included Health, a care-navigation platform tailored for the LGBTQ2S+ community.

The platform helps members find providers who are clinically competent in understanding their health nuances, risks and concerns, as well as care co-ordinators that offer support on topics beyond provider pairing, such as understanding insurance benefits, coming out at work and parenting an LGBTQ2S+ youth. As well, the service offers support with planning for gender affirming care.

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While the offerings aren’t available to employees in Canada at this time, the company is in the process of reviewing its total rewards, said Stephanie Fusco, manager of corporate affairs in Canada, in an emailed statement to Benefits Canada. “Walmart Canada is committed to supporting our associates in their parenthood journey. We’re always watching and learning from other Walmart markets around the world and are focused on providing market-competitive offerings to our associates. From a Canadian perspective, we’re looking critically at all of our programs from a diversity, equity and inclusion perspective to ensure they do not have barriers and are inclusive of all associates.”