June 30 – Advocacy Slaps me in the Face

My hr department finally replied to my request. Below is the most insulting, rude response I have ever heard.

Hi <employee>.  Thank you for the follow-up, I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.  I was researching why the benefit was not considered (as I was not at the firm when that decision was made) as well as checking with the latest benefit market surveys. 

In reviewing the market surveys, I saw that 59% of the employers surveyed (over 2,500) in the 2014 Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans cover the same detection and evaluation benefit that we offer under the <employer>  plan for infertility.  Only 26% of employers cover in vitro fertilization, so we are in the majority of excluding that level of coverage.  There has also been very little movement of employers to add this coverage in the past couple years. 

Regarding why <employer> has chosen to exclude the coverage, when we evaluate coverage under our medical program, one of the items we consider is the number of individuals that would use the benefit.  We want to offer a variety of benefits to ensure all those paying premiums have the coverage for the services they would use.  When you look at the cost of the IVF treatment in comparison to the number of members that would benefit, it doesn’t fit within that philosophy. The <employer> medical plan is self-insured, meaning once a participant hits their annual deductible, the firm pays for any additional services, not the insurance company.  The insurance company simply processes the claim and withdrawals the payment from an <employer> bank account.  Based on the statistics sent in your initial letter, if we were to offer the IVF coverage, we would easily add $50-60 million dollars to our annual medical spend, which would not only impact the rates that all 23,000 associates pay, but potentially the bonus levels and profit sharing contributions at the firm.   This is why it has been excluded in the past and at this time, why it will remain an exclusion. 

We do offer an adoption assistance benefit as well as the opportunity to save pre-tax dollars in a health savings account to pay for elective medical treatments, such as IVF. 

I am sorry this is not the response you were looking for, but I hope it at least provides an explanation into our coverage considerations.  Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

What I read was: we are in line with other employers by not adding the coverage, it’s too expensive and god forbid it affects bonuses, just adopt or wait. Sorry.

Yup. So now I am trying to come up with responses to these arguments that would support adding despite these things.

In addition to my work insulting me, my mother called to asked my opinion on my baby brother’s class schedule for his high school beginnings. Why does she ask me for parenting advice? I guess I am more maternal than her. Then she went on and on about how great of a father my brother is, how cute their baby is, how much I need to fly out and spend time with my niece,etc. I just stopped listening in the middle. I explained her to why I couldn’t fly out. Not only is it emotionally painful but I was just laid off in March and just started this job. I can’t exactly take time off. What a week.


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