Yesterday was my meeting with HR about my request for our insurance to cover IVF. I came prepared with a sheet of facts about how IVF coverage doesn’t necessarily increase costs as well as a study about how coverage effects employee satisfaction. I was hoping he’d drive the conversation as I wasn’t really sure what he was expecting from me. Luckily, he did.
He started out by telling me what we do cover (in regards to infertility) as well as how the process works for things that aren’t covered. Basically every year HR makes a list of the most request items as well the cost impact. They then present this list to the board and based on what they had for breakfast that morning what seems most compelling, they make a decision. So, IVF/IUI coverage will be added to this list this year.
He mentioned that he had his benefits coordinator look into the amount of requests and the amount currently spent on infertility, and I got the feeling she didn’t think it was a remote possibility. He said something about a hidden cost of covering infertility to be an increase in premature births, which he said are some of the highest claims they see. Typically I’m terrible on the spot, but this time I pulled through! I remembered reading a stat about how in Massachusetts (where IVF coverage is mandated) the multiple birth rate is actually lower than everywhere else. So I mentioned this and said that for me, since I am paying out of pocket (and therefore have a limited amount of cycles) I am MUCH more likely to throw caution to the wind and put in 3 embryos versus 1 or 2. You could tell that got his wheels spinning, he even wrote it down!
He never gave me a company credit card with an IVF seal of approval, so husband was disappointed. But all in all, I thought it went well. Honestly I don’t have high hopes that my company will cover IVF in the near future, but at least I tried. He did say he appreciated me letting them know versus just complaining about it, and that he wished more people would do the same. I did tell him I appreciated that they at least cover the drugs, because it is a big help and I’d hate to lose that coverage.
Now to work on my letter to the Pope (my Catholic church post rant is coming, I promise!).
So if you’ll recall, late last week I posted about sending letters to my HR department requesting infertility coverage for our insurance. I am happy to report, I got a response! I really didn’t think I would hear back, so I am excited! Here’s what he said:
I wanted to acknowledge that we’ve received your letters in regards to fertility benefits. I’m doing a little research on what we currently cover regarding fertility benefits and would like to get back with you in person to discuss. Would you be open to that?
I believe we do spend quite a lot on Employees and spouses who use fertility drugs. You are correct that we don’t cover in-vitro fertilization procedures which can be very costly. I would like to take the research you sent us and further evaluate these benefits to better understand the coverage and what we do and do not pay. Each year, we get many requests to cover or increase coverage for our benefits. We attempt to look at each one to determine what we cover and see if we should make a change.
If you are open to meeting, I can set something up for us in a few weeks. Let me know if that would work and thanks for sharing your thoughts and information with us.
I of course agreed to the meeting. I’m not exactly sure what we’ll discuss, but perhaps he’ll outline that in the appointment (which he hasn’t set up yet). Regardless, it’s a step in the right direction! Feels good to do my small little part during National Infertility Awareness Week!
Infertility awareness week starts next week! I thought I would get us all in the spirit a little early with what I’m doing to spread awareness (albeit for somewhat selfish reasons).
I’ve become increasingly more furious about the complete lack of infertility coverage with my work-sponsored plan. I’ll never understand why infertility isn’t treated just like any other disease. Can you imagine if plans took away diabetes coverage? Oh but they cover sterilization of me or my husband at 100%, super.
Rather than continually bitch about this, I decided to try and do something about it. So, I sat down and wrote letters to the President, HR Director and HR Benefits Manager. According to resolve.org, 65% of companies that offer infertility coverage did so because of an employee request.
I suspect that my company doesn’t offer this coverage for religious reasons (private company) more so than financial. I’ll save my rant against the Catholic church’s feelings on IVF for another day, Good Friday doesn’t really seem appropriate. So unfortunately I doubt anything will be done until my state mandates the coverage (did you know that 15 states already do?).
If your interested in sending a similar letter to your employer, you can use the same template I did at http://www.resolve.org/family-building-options/insurance_coverage/no-coverage-through-work.html. I decided to also include a few personal details (how long we’ve been trying, what a struggle it is for us, how isolating it is when insurance doesn’t acknowledge it’s a real problem) to try and evoke some empathy (I mean their not monsters, right?) .
Infertility is such a quiet/private struggle, it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. So, this is my small attempt to be heard. If I was bolder, I’d wear a infertility awareness shirt/pin/flag/billboard all next week . But since I’m not, I’ll start working on letters to my state representatives and the Pope!