So today was the self-imposed deadline on my coworkers and myself to email the HR partner in charge in health care and benefits at my work. I wrote another 2 page letter, and had 5 associates at my work who also wrote 1-2 page letters. I am hoping this gets more of a response than the last three times I submitted information.
I know it is a long shot and they will continue to try to silence us but I think maybe by the time I retire I might have affected some change. All I can do is continue to try and gain support from my fellow associates who have gone through the same process. Here is a copy of the letter (minus the company name):
May 12, 2017
To Whom It May Concern,
It is the time of year where I once again put forth my request for the ******** Medical Review Committee to consider adding infertility coverage, including treatments.
As you may remember from my previous letters, one in eight (12.5%) suffers from infertility. About one-third is due to men issues, one-third women issues, twenty percent unexplained and the remaining is a combination of both male and female issues. This disease reaches across both genders (1). That is a tremendous number of associates here at ******* that suffer – almost silently – from this emotionally difficult disease.
This year during National Infertility Awareness Week (April 23-29, 2017) Resolve’s theme was “Listen Up” (Resolve is a non-profit infertility advocacy organization). As a firm we need to listen up! Listen to what our employees are asking for. Listen to the competitors offering coverage to attract a more diverse workforce. Listen to the mandates as each year more and more states are requiring coverage. There are now 15 states that mandate infertility coverage and the recently passed Federal mandate requiring IVF to be covered by the Veteran’s Affairs (12).
Other firms that offer infertility treatment coverage (5, 6, 7, 8, 9):
|Bank of America
||JP Morgan Chase
|Boston Consulting Group
||Dick’s Sporting Goods
||Ernst & Young
||Bain & Company
||Johnson and Johnson
That is a pretty long list, albeit only a partial list. But if you notice there are competitors offering the coverages that we do not (Fidelity, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Boston Consulting Group, JP Morgan Chase, Broadridge Financial Services, TD, Accenture and Citi, M&T Bank). There are also firms that closely align to our industry offering coverages (MetLife, Ernst &Young, Deloitte, Bloomberg, Barclays and Bain & Company).
Why do these firms offer coverage when it is not mandated? Cisco says “fertility benefits — $15,000 lifetime maximum for medical treatment and $10,000 for drugs — are offered simply because it’s ‘the right thing to do,’” (8). Intel states “offering the benefit is part of the company’s commitment to being diverse, inclusive and supportive of the employees” (8). Southwest Airlines shares “‘If we have happy employees, we will have happy customers and, subsequently, happy shareholders,’… ‘Fertility benefits have value to employees. While fertility benefits aren’t something all employees need, the impact this benefit can have on an employee’s life is immeasurable'” (8). These companies are ahead of the curve. These companies feel it is the right thing to do. These companies want happy employees. Don’t we want the same things for our employees?
As a firm we support other noble causes, such as Autism, Alzheimer’s, and Juvenile Diabetes. Autism affects one in sixty-eight children or 1.47% (2). Alzheimer’s affects one in ten adults over the age of 65, or 10% of people over 65 (3). For Juvenile Diabetes, if both parents have type 1 the odds are on one in ten to one in four, 10% to 25% (4). These are all terrible conditions, but if we look strictly at numbers they impact less people than infertility does. And yet, it is not being mentioned. It is not being talked about. Why?
We need to stop sweeping the taboo of infertility under the rug. With such a large percentage of people experiencing the emotional rollercoaster of this disease, we need to stand up and face it head on. We need to help out our fellow associates. According to Harvard “for patients who do not have insurance coverage or the means to pay for treatment, not being able to obtain treatment may contribute to feeling helpless and hopeless” (10). Just having infertility is stressful enough. Per Psychology Today “the stress levels of women with infertility are equivalent to women with cancer, AIDS or heart disease” (11) and that is before trying to figure out how to pay for it! Let’s relieve some of that burden; take some of that stress and heartache away from our associates.
You may recall receiving several SUGGs requesting infertility coverage all within a week’s time frame last year. That was in response to a request in my department asking people to stand with me. In a department of 45 people, 14 submitted requests. That is a 30 percent response from my one appeal. Imagine how many people would support it if it went firm wide? We are underestimating how many people would support adding this coverage.
I appreciate you taking the time to consider this important request.
1 – https://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/infertility.html
2 – http://autismsciencefoundation.org/what-is-autism/how-common-is-autism/
3 – http://www.alz.org/facts/
4 – http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/genetics-of-diabetes.html?loc=db-slabnav
5 – http://fortune.com/2016/11/15/fertilityiq-rankings/
7 – https://www.inciid.org/companies-that-may-offer-infertility-benefits
8 – http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20160117/NEWS03/160119856/Fertility-treatment-costs-scare-off-employers,-but-those-who-offer-coverage-to-e
9 – https://www.fertilityiq.com/cost/2016-best-companies-to-work-for-as-a-fertility-patient-corporate-fertility-benefits-rankings