How about a little inspiration from those coverage warriors who fought for their workplace fertility benefits, and won! Here you will find their personal stories and tips on how you can be a workplace coverage warrior too. Learn how you can get insurance coverage like Katie and Heather did.

Need a pep talk? {cracks knuckles} No problem, we got you covered. Here are a 3 tips from Katie on how to approach your employer:

  1. Share your own story and be your own champion for coverage.
  2. Find out who makes decisions and those who influence the decisions regarding changes in healthcare coverage for your company.
  3. Understand this issue from the point of view of your employer.

Share your own story and be your own champion. As hard as it is to share such a personal story; one involving sex, money and (fertility) drugs, it is a powerful tool in showing people the inequality of coverage and the magnitude of the impact on one’s work and personal life. Remember, no one cares about changing this aspect of coverage right now more than you. You have to lead the campaign for change to the end. You can do it!

Find out who makes decisions regarding changes in healthcare coverage for your company. Your employer may be the one that decides what they want their plans to offer. In most cases, the Human Resources department is responsible for what gets covered, but there is one person, likely the VP of HR that gives the final say.

ASK:

  • How they make their coverage decisions.
  • Who is involved and what is their background?
  • Ask what they need to make their decision and what else you can provide for them.
  • Offer to give them your own research on the benefits of adding fertility treatments to their health insurance plan. (See our Resource Hub Link for information!)
  • Ask for a timeline for a decision and schedule your next meeting. (Coverage changes for a given year have to be made before open enrollment typically around October/November).

Understand this issue from the point of view of your employer. Because you are amazing you probably work for a great company. Assume good intent and they have a good reason for not having the coverage yet. Maybe no one had ever asked! Find out the concerns that your company has in adding fertility treatment coverage. For most companies the cost of adding coverage is a huge factor. In your letters or meetings, explain to them that there are hidden costs to not covering fertility treatments and costs are not likely to increase by adding this coverage.

Heather's Story

In late 2014, while sitting in the waiting room before her appointment with a fertility specialist, Heather Clayton Terry spotted a familiar face from work. That colleague said Heather was the second co-worker she had come across in the waiting room. Soon after this chance encounter, all three colleagues met to talk about their infertility experiences and the lack of health care coverage for employees diagnosed with this disease. That day they vowed to advocate for family building and fight for insurance coverage at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) where they worked.

Family Equity Committee IITo ensure their efforts were inclusive of anyone struggling to build a family, they reached out to the University’s LGBT Center Director, who also revealed her personal battle with infertility. Together in 2015, they established the Family Equity Committee to advocate for staff and faculty members who need assistance building their families.

Next steps included reaching out to the Director of Benefits, the VP of Human Resources (HR), and the President of the University. The Committee discovered that adding assisted reproductive technology and adoption reimbursement had been presented to the Faculty Senate in 2014 but not approved. Enlisting more faculty support was crucial, so Heather, with support from her supervisor at the Center for Women, created a series of women’s health programs that addressed infertility, adoption and foster care. As a result, more faculty and staff joined the Family Equity Committee, and with more people involved, they embarked on important research to learn what infertility benefits other universities in the Association of American Universities (AAU) offered to help make the case for family equity.

The Committee presented the research to the Fringe Benefit Committee and met with HR representatives at least four times throughout the course of the year. In late summer 2016, HR presented the research to the President’s Council, and in September 2016, HR announced that beginning in 2017, coverage for IUI and IVF services will be included in the University’s self-insured health plans and also be accessible to same-gender couples. The Committee achieved success, although they still consider it a work in progress. The benefit is subject to a lifetime maximum of $10,000 and other limitations; adoption reimbursement had been requested but not accepted, though additional sick days were added for foster care parents.

It was a long road with lots of setbacks, but the journey to family equity is moving forward at the University, thanks to the passion and commitment of Heather and her colleagues who didn’t accept the status quo.