Public Health

Target will cover employees’ travel to other states for abortions

A person walks into a Target store in Washington, DC, on May 18, 2022.

Stefanie Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

Target will cover employees’ travel if they live in a state where abortion is banned, according to a company memo obtained by CNBC.

The new policy will take effect in July, according to the email, which was sent to employees Monday from Target’s Chief Human Resources Officer Melissa Kremer.

“For years, our healthcare benefits have included some financial support for travel, when team members needed select healthcare procedures that weren’t available where they live,” Kremer said in the memo. “A few months ago, we started re-evaluating our benefits with the goal of understanding what it would look like if we broadened the travel reimbursement to any care that’s needed and covered – but not available in the team member’s community. This effort became even more relevant than we learned about the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion, given that it would impact access to healthcare in some states.”

With the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the country has been divided into states where abortion is legal and states where it is outlawed. The court decision has led to a wave of announcements by companies that have committed to providing travel coverage for employees as part of their health insurance plans. That list cuts across industries and includes JPMorgan Chase, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Rivian.

Some companies, like Amazon, already announced travel coverage for employees who need to seek reproductive healthcare in other states before the Supreme Court decision. The tech giant said it will pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for abortion and other non-life threatening medical treatments.

Target did not immediately respond to a request about whether the travel policy will come with a dollar limit. It did not say how it plans to protect the privacy of employees who seek travel reimbursement.

In the memo, the retailer said its health care travel reimbursement policy will include travel for mental health, cardiac care and other services that aren’t available close to employees’ homes, in addition to reproductive care.

Kremer said Target updated its policy to “ensure our team has equal access to high-quality, low-cost care through our healthcare benefits.”

In the memo, Target did not take a position on the Supreme Court decision. Kremer praised Target’s employees for how they “recognize and respect a wide spectrum of beliefs and opinions that other team members and guests hold close – even if those beliefs differ from their own.”

Other companies have stayed silent in the wake of the Supreme Court decision. Walmart, the largest private employer in the US, declined to say if or how it will allow employees to access abortions in states where they are illegal. Its headquarters is in Arkansas, a state that already has a law on the books to trigger a ban.

Walmart, however, does cover travel costs for some medical care — including certain heart surgeries, cancer treatments and organ transplants — that employees get at hospitals in other states or cities far from home.

The top court’s decision prompted outrage from some employees who have pushed their companies to go further. Hundreds of Amazon employees have signed an internal petition, calling on the company to condemn Supreme Court’s decision, cease operations in states with abortion bans and allow workers to move to other states if they live in a place where the procedure is restricted, according to Business Insider.

CNBC’s John Rosevear contributed to this article.

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