Each year, more companies are offering insurance coverage for fertility treatments. However, some are not. Why? Because, usually, if you don’t ask, the answer is “no.” So, have you asked?
Asking for fertility benefits is pretty straightforward, but keeping these tips in mind can help you have a more productive conversation.
1. Help your employer understand
Most employers are willing to consider insurance benefits for fertility treatment, but you should start by acknowledging that they’re going to have financial concerns. Many HR representatives believe that fertility treatment is expensive to patients and employers, which might come from misinformation or incomplete information. Know going in that you might meet resistance but believe that you can be persuasive and help your employer see the advantages of providing fertility benefits.
2. Check your emotions
Without insurance coverage for the healthcare you need, you may be frustrated, overwhelmed, emotional, and stressed. Figure out how to process your feelings constructively when speaking with your employer. It’s OK to be authentic and shed a tear or two. Do your best to lean into the opportunity that you have to be heard, share your knowledge, and help your employer become a champion for the cause.
3. Strength in numbers
If you are comfortable letting colleagues know what you are doing, spread the word. You may hear from others that they would like to join forces and attend a meeting with you. With more people involved, your HR department will have the chance to see that this coverage is beneficial to their staff.
4. Come prepared
Provide employers with tools specifically created to educate policymakers on insurance coverage for fertility treatments, such as The Policymaker’s Guide to Fertility Health Benefits, created by Fertility Within Reach. Employers also want to know what benefits are available from similar companies because they are competitive and want to gain and retain the best employees. Sharing sample benefits packages could make the decision easier for your employer. Some companies offer plans that employers can add to their regular insurance options. Make sure you know what state mandates exist for your area; new rulings are being passed on a rolling basis. Stay current!
5. Persuade with details
- Express why coverage is important for you and for the employer. Remind your employer that it would help build employee loyalty and satisfaction; reduce use of other benefits, such as for mental health; reduce the risk of outcome costs related to maternity and neonatal care; and alleviate the need for more costly treatments by accessing timely healthcare.
- Ask for benefits to cover a specific number of treatment cycles and medication instead of a dollar limit. If the employer has offices in more than 1 state, a designated number of cycles could balance the differences in the prices charged by clinics in various areas. Recommend 4 cycles or more to alleviate the stress associated with treatment and the pressure on women to transfer more embryos in fewer cycles. Explain how the medication is a necessary part of assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). In most cases, you cannot do one without the other.
- Inquire about “out-of-the-box” options. For instance, would they offer two health plans for employees, one without infertility benefits and one with them?
Remember, you are having a conversation. You are working together to see if you can create a win-win situation for everyone. It is unlikely that your employer will confirm benefits at the time of your meeting. They will need to do some research on their end. Make yourself available to answer follow-up questions. Most importantly, feel proud that you empowered and advocated for yourself for an incredibly positive purpose—to help build your family.