Starbucks has announced a new type of perk for its employees. While the Starbucks’ corporate family is always looking to expand, it also recognizes the growing desire among many of its employees to expand their personal families as well.
As a result, corporate management has announced a new benefits program to help employees struggling with infertility issues by picking up costs for IVF treatments. The move follows the lead of other major corporations including American Express which, currently offers employees up to $35,000 in coverage for making babies. including IVF and medication.
In addition, MetLife’s $25,000 benefits package includes a call-in advice nurse service to walk patients through the process. In addition, Fertility IQ reports that Bank of America provides employees with unlimited coverage for IVF and medications. Other companies lauded for similar benefit packages include Mars, Intel, and BASF to name a few.
According to government statistics, nearly 1 out of every 8 Americans face some sort of infertility issues, far exceeding the number of people stricken with breast cancer, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease, Yet only 15 states require that policies cover any kind of infertility benefits.
These include New York, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Montana, Louisiana, Texas, Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia. However, only half of these mandate IVF services.
Meanwhile, efforts to expand fertility coverage benefits are currently being explored in South Carolina and Mississippi as well. These are meant to not only fill-in gaps left by the Affordable Care Act, but to prepare for what may replace it in the future.
One of the main reasons IVF treatments are not covered is the fact that infertility is not considered to be a “life-threatening” or something that “threatens one’s quality of life.” Despite this attitude, the demand for IVF services among both heterosexual and gay couples who wish to start families continues to rise. In fact, Fertility IQ now estimates that within 3-years cycle volumes for IVF treatments should “eclipse 400,000 procedures, effectively tripling volumes since the economic downturn in 2008.”
It should be noted that current costs per cycle average nearly $12,000 without any outside donors; $29,000 for donor eggs; and $14,000 for donor sperm (although actual amounts may vary from state-to-state). Other charges such as embryo biopsies (about $1,800) and chromosomal analysis of the fetus ($3,500) also drive up medical costs.
This means, that without coverage or other financial help, couples are forced to pay huge sums out-of-pocket, not only for implantation of embryos but for necessary fertility drugs, sperm injections, and even genetic testing.
While many people have been forced to forgo their dreams of being parents due to financial hardship, others go into major debt, or even appeal to friends and family as well as strangers via sites like GoFund Me to raise money. In fact, GoFund Me recently reported to MarketWatch that more than 7,5000 such campaigns have amassed donations of more than $11 million over the past 5-years.
The fact that major companies such as Starbucks are now stepping up to the plate to help is not only a “Godsend” for their employees, but has been found to reap in benefits for the corporations, themselves despite the enormous expense. These including creating extreme employee loyalty and gratitude, and serving to keep more women in different fields, particularly tech industries.