Letter to Starbucks Partners: Ensuring Access to Healthcare

In a letter to Starbucks partners, Sara Kelly, acting evp, Partner Resources, shares our commitment to ensuring our partners always have access to quality healthcare – regardless of where you live or what you believe.

Updated June 24, 2022


I’m sure many of you are seeing that the U.S. Supreme Court made its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade today. Even though we have prepared for this scenario, personally and as a company, I know this decision leaves many of you disheartened or in shock.  

We all need to process this in our own way, and as you do, here is what I want you to know: no matter where you live, or what you believe, we will always ensure you have access to quality healthcare. And when legislative actions impact your access to healthcare, we will work on ways to make you feel supported.

That’s why we have provided partners enrolled in Starbucks healthcare plan a medical travel reimbursement benefit to access an abortion, and coming soon, access to gender-affirming care. You can learn more about that benefit in my message from last week, and also on the Partner Hub. The impacts of this decision are complex and our Starbucks Advocates are dedicated to working directly with partners year-round with questions about healthcare coverage. They are a knowledgeable resource and a free and confidential service for our partners. 

We are here to support you partners and thank you for taking care of one another in this moment.

Updated June 15, 2022


In anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wadein May we shared that we will always strive to ensure our partners have access to quality healthcare. When legislative actions impact your access to healthcare we will work on ways to make you feel supported. That’s why starting today, we will provide partners enrolled in Starbucks healthcare plan a medical travel reimbursement benefit to access an abortion.

This benefit will support eligible partners (and their eligible dependents) who are enrolled in a Starbucks medical plan, cannot legally access an abortion in their state of residence and do not have a provider available within 100 miles of their home. You can read full details of this benefit and how to access it on the Partner Hub.

We know some partners may also face legislative barriers when it comes to accessing gender affirming procedures and we are working on the details for the medical travel reimbursement benefit for gender-affirming procedures now. Part of why this one is taking a little longer to finalize is that we want to make sure we account for the fact that there are more procedures to consider as part of this benefit. We will share an update on this as soon as possible.

As we work through these details, we’re unfortunately seeing some misinformation that Starbucks will take benefits away from partners who are in the petitioning process. Here are the facts we want you to know:

  • All partners enrolled in Starbucks healthcare will have access to these benefits.
  • In stores represented by a union, federal law requires good faith collective bargaining over all wages, benefits and working conditions. That means Starbucks cannot make promises or guarantees about any benefits. For example, even if we were to offer a certain benefit at the bargaining table, a union could decide to exchange it for something else. Simply put, it’s difficult to predict the outcome of negotiations, and each store’s negotiation may look different.
  • What we can say for sure, is that Starbucks will always bargain in good faith.

Partners, thank you for the perspectives these last few weeks, including from those of you in our partner networks. I want to also thank you for continuing to listen and engage with one another with empathy and kindness, given the diverse views amongst us. Together, we can continue to make progress on critical benefits like these and find ways to support one another.

May 16, 2022


Like many of you, I’m deeply concerned by the draft Supreme Court opinion related to the constitutional right to abortion that was first established by Roe v. Wade. I know this is weighing on many of you, so let me be clear up front – regardless of what the Supreme Court ends up deciding, we will always ensure our partners have access to quality healthcare. And when actions impact your access to healthcare, we will work on a way to make sure you feel supported.

Today I’m announcing that we are expanding our U.S. healthcare benefit to further protect your personal health decisions. Regardless of where you live or what you believe, partners enrolled in Starbucks healthcare will now be offered reimbursement for eligible travel expenses when accessing abortion or gender-affirming procedures when those services are not available within 100 miles of a partner’s home. This benefit will also apply to dependents of partners enrolled in Starbucks healthcare.

Whatever healthcare choice you believe is right for you and your family, you deserve access to those services and the benefits that Starbucks provides. We offer industry-leading benefits, including many benefits that support partners in planning for their future, including:

  • Family Expansion Reimbursement programs to assist with costs associated with growing your family, like adoption, surrogacy or fertility treatments
  • Paid leave for benefits-eligible partners who welcome a new child by birth, adoption or foster
  • Health insurance options for transgender partners to include gender-affirming care
  • Health insurance options to cover preventative care and contraception
  • Free mental health and counseling sessions through Lyra for all partners
  • And, coming soon, reimbursement for travel expenses for certain healthcare services not available in your community, as shared above.

At Starbucks, we have 240,000 U.S. partners with diverse views. That’s okay, because it’s what makes us Starbucks. My hope is that we will continue to honor and respect one another. And, together, we’ll become better listeners and learners – finding ways to support one another, as we always have. Because that’s what it means to be a partner.

Thank you to the perspectives and ideas shared by many of you, including those in our partner networks. Our Benefits team is working on the specifics and timing of our benefit expansion and we look forward to sharing more updates soon.

Your partner,