In an ideal world, every birthing family who wants a doula should have access to a doula. As birth workers, I know we would all love to show up to any and every birth where we are desired regardless of a client’s ability to pay. However, our skills are valuable as is our time, and our own bills need to be paid. This makes hearing that Walmart covers doulas wonderful.
As we navigate a world where finances can unfortunately impact birth outcomes, we welcome news like this. While there are nuances involved, we are so grateful to see more access to doulas.
Walmart Covers Doulas – Why?
Walmart shared the news stating:
“We know one of the most important times in our associates’ lives is when they make the decision to grow their families. When our associates make this decision, we want to ensure they have access to quality health care options and feel supported during this exciting, yet sometimes stressful, time in life.
“However, we know more than 5.6 million women live in counties with no or limited access to maternity care services, according to the March of Dimes, and that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to access maternity care in many areas of the country.”
Doulas are not a replacement for regular maternity care provided by midwives or physicians. However, we know that doulas can improve birth outcomes. In communities where a lack of easy access and continuity of care exists, doulas might be able to help improve the maternity experience for some families.
If Walmart covers doulas, we might see improved outcomes among their associates.
What Coverage is Walmart Offering?
As doulas, we know it is important our skills are compensated with a living wage. This is especially true knowing our ability to help improve birth outcomes.
In fact, Walmart covering doulas is the result of their own pilot program in Georgia, Louisiana, Indiana and Illinois. As their pilot proved successful in supporting their employees during family building, they opted to roll out the program to other employees.
Walmart is offering up to $1000 for services offered during pregnancy. This is available to associated enrolled in their Life With Baby benefits, which is available to many employees.
What we may not all be aware of, is Walmart has been offering support in other areas of family building. This includes adoption and surrogacy costs. As a company with record breaking profit margins, perhaps they can be part of the solution to poor family building support in the US.
Can Any Doula Work With Walmart Employees?
Like many aspects of insurance coverage, not all providers (e.g., physicians, hospitals, etc.,) are in network with all insurances. This means even a Harvard medical school grad might not be able to offer care through some insurance companies.
Walmart covered doulas are either DONA trained or a member of the National Black Doula Association (NBDA). The International Doula Institute is always working with insurance companies, state governments, and companies to gain more coverage for our doulas.
While IDI certification alone is not in network with Walmart, our doulas can apply for membership to NBDA. Membership allows you to offer services to Walmart associates. This is not a doula training organization but rather a professional membership.
Walmart Covers Doulas – Should More Companies Do This?
Without a doubt, research shows that doulas improve birth outcomes. We truly believe anyone who desires a doula should have access to one. That said, like any professional that is capable of accepting insurance (e.g., doctors, midwives, chiropractors, etc.,) some choose not to work with insurance.
In some circumstances, insurance can impact your total pay as well as what services you are able to offer. There is no right or wrong when it comes to whether you do or do not accept insurance or company benefits.