How about a little inspiration from those coverage warriors who requested fertility insurance benefits at work and won? Here you will find their personal fertility insurance request success stories and tips on how you can be a workplace coverage warrior too.
Read fertility insurance success stories.
Kienan in New York
Kienan volunteered as an advocate in New York State and spoke passionately on the issue to help pass a mandate for IVF treatment in 2019. When she realized that her employer was self-insured and would not be subjected to the mandate, she worked tirelessly with the benefits team of the regional medical center where she works.
Now thanks to Kienan, all of her colleagues have benefits that match New York State’s mandate!
Jennifer in Arizona
Jennifer works for a Title 1 School District in Arizona with 1,000+ employees. She downloaded the Coverage at Work toolkit and used the resources provided to help craft a letter requesting family building benefits.
“Our state consistently ranks dead last in education funding. Once I found out who the decision-makers were (an insurance trust board), I wrote my letter. I also took advantage of Arizona’s Open Meeting law, addressed the board for three minutes in a public meeting, and successfully made my case. If this can happen at my workplace, it can happen elsewhere!”
Claire in Oregon
Claire Adamsick worked for the City of Portland and successfully made the case for infertility benefits to the City Commissioner.
Adamsick pointed out the out-of-pocket expenses for certain people under the current city code [for] … fertility treatments, adoption, surrogacy or fostering had disproportionate impacts on already marginalized communities.
“The lack of employer coverage has a greater burden on Black, Indigenous and employees of color as well as LGBTQIA2S, single and low income employees,” Adamsick said (Portland passes LGBTQ+ inclusive fertility health coverage for city employees, KOIN 6 News, Jan 6, 2021).
Now more than 6,000 City of Portland employees have family building benefits.
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.
To 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.
In 2015, Summer Kinczkowski put in the request with her employer, a large international company headquartered in Missouri, to add infertility benefits and reached out to RESOLVE for information and facts to share with her decision makers. Her employer already offered benefits for adoption as well as pregnancy termination but didn’t provide any benefits that would cover infertility treatment. In fact, the insurance offered to U.S. employees would deny any claims submitted with an infertility code.
Armed with the resources and template letter from RESOLVE’S Coverage at Work program, Summer tailored the template to make a thoughtful argument full of facts and in line with her employer’s mission statement.
Katie Lelito’s Story:
Katie Lelito took back control of a disease that seemingly felt beyond her control by getting involved in advocacy. Armed with a template letter from RESOLVE, Katie made it her mission to get infertility coverage for the University of Michigan. After learning exactly how to make changes at the university from her graduate student union, she finally got the right message to the right people, just in time for her to get a job in another state, a job that didn’t cover infertility… yet.
She sent the same letter to HR and infertility coverage was added again. Thanks to her efforts, thousands of people, now and in the future who work at these organizations have access to IVF treatments, should they need it. Katie is a long time RESOLVE volunteer, organizing support groups and infertility awareness events. In 2019, she was presented with the Hope Award for Service at RESOLVE’s Night of Hope.
Dr. Dupree’s Story:
The Universith of Michigan is full of Coverage at Work all-stars. In 2019, Dr. Jim Dupree worked with the university to add fertility preservation benefits. As an associate professor in Urology, specializing in male infertility, he understands the importance of removing cost as an obstacle to care. In addition, Dr. Dupree published a study on the impact of the IVF benefit at University of Michigan in the Journal of the American Medical Association. He is committed not only to expanding benefits for his own employer, but also sharing his knowledge and experience to help others achieve the same goal with their employers.