Staff Writer Jax Gay
Publix, one of the largest supermarket chains in the country, made headlines last week when it was revealed it refused to cover PrEP in its employee health insurance plan.
On Twitter, a Publix spokesperson indicated the plan “only covered identification, treatment or management of a medical condition,” not conditions a member might get in the future.
The news sparked an outrage, and now the supermarket chain has announced it will reverse its decision and will now expand to cover PrEP in its employee health care plan “as quickly as possible,” said a representative for Publix in a series of tweets to Logo.
Publix employs 170,000 workers and garners annual sales of more than $32 billion. It’s been a family-owned company since it was founded by George W. Jenkins Jr in 1930. (In 2016, Todd Jones became the first CEO outside the Jenkins family.) But it’s been described as insular, conservative and slow to adapt—and the PrEP incident was not the first time Publix has been called out by the LGBT community: In 2014, the company was ordered to pay $100,000 to a bakery employee allegedly fired because he was gay. (The order was later overturned.)
“Publix appreciates the concerns shared by our associates and customers. We offer generous health coverage to our eligible full-time and part-time associates at an affordable premium and are committed to the health and well-being of our associates and their families,” tweeted Publix.
“We regularly evaluate what is covered by our health plan and have made the decision to expand our health plan’s coverage of Truvada to include Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). We are working with our pharmacy benefits manager to implement this change as quickly as possible.”