Wednesday, October 8, 2008

letter to HR (draft)

Please review the following letter. I welcome any and all comments...

Dear [Name] :
I have been an employee of xxx for the past 8 years. My husband and I are suffering with the disease of infertility and request that you consider covering infertility treatment in xxx health benefit package.

We have been trying to get pregnant for over 4 years; we have being seeing a xx Reproductive Endocrinologist for the past 18 months. Since January 1, 2008 my husband and I have spent $17,000 on procedures to help us get pregnant I have used both oral and injectible fertily drugs. I have had 5 Intrauterine Inseminations. My husband and I have been put through test after embarrassing test to try to find the reason for our infertility. Neither of us minds the invasiveness or embarrassment caused by the procedures we’ve had done. What we do mind is that we have to pay 100% for those treatments. We have exhausted our choices in infertility treatment, and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is likely the only chance we have of having a family.

We went through our IVF cycle in May. That cycle cost over $10,000; meds for that cycle cost another $2500. We were lucky enough to have 3 embryos that were able to be frozen from our IVF cycle. It cost $600 to freeze the embryos. We then did a transfer of those embryos which cost another $3,000 We currently have nothing to show for that amount, over $16,000, except the lingering of needle marks and bruising from the shots I took to stimulate egg growth and to pump my body full of the progesterone that is necessary to sustain a pregnancy. Additionally, dealing with years of infertility has affected my mental health and I am currently seeing a therapist to deal with the depression that infertility has caused in my life, and the toll it has taken on my marriage. Your HR department should also think about work productivity that is lost when suffering from infertility, caused most frequently by the inability to concentrate.

I have utilized the Employee Assistance Program to help me deal with this struggle. I have maximized my Flex Spending Account. While I am grateful for the FSA, it bears mentioning that $450 comes out of my monthly paycheck to cover the cost of a procedure that didn’t work. We have spent so much money in 2008 on infertility that I will be able to deduct costs from our Federal Income tax.

To add additional stress, we are dealing with a timeline. Chances of success with IVF go down significantly after the age of 35. I will turn 35 in 7 months. As you can see, not only are we dealing with an immense amount of financial stress, but that stress is occurring in a short period of time.

Infertility is not unlike any other disease. My husband and I did not choose to have difficulty having a child, The sense of loss and grief when you are told you may never have a child is much the same as telling a patient they have a life altering disease.

I have been in contact with an HR person a few times over the past 2 years to question why xxx does not provide coverage for the illness of infertility. I’ve been told that infertility coverage is something that gets assessed annually by an outside group. Once “enough” companies of a similar size to xxx include infertility coverage as part of their healthcare package, xxx will consider doing the same. This begs the question why it is not xxx responsibility as a leading university both in this country and worldwide to be leading the way for other companies to get this disease covered.

Please let me know if you would like any additional information on this issue. I sincerely hope that xxxwill consider offering infertility coverage and support our desire to build our family. Thank you for your consideration.


TTC a lil F said...

You have inspired me. I wish I had enough courage to write that. I am one of 10,000+ employees of this company that is consistantly in the top 20 of the top 100 companies to work for. Yet, they offer no infertity coverage and no benefit for adoption. Let us know what you hear back. Debdebtx from TTTC

Matt & Jeni said...

Stacey...don't forget to add that many states are requiring that IF coverage be included in medical insurence coverage...MA is one, I don't remember the others, but ask away. Also, include the names of some Co's that include it...check Lucypenvise's bio for that information. ALso, write a letter to your house Rep..I did last year and I'll be resending it again here soon...mine is Russ Carnahan. I should send it to the Senators too...I'll get on that. The letter looks great.

Anonymous said...

I would also add that while it doesn't apply to you necessarily, the risk of HOM with IUI is exponentially higher than with IVF. And because IUI is more "affordable" more of your colleagues are likely to go that route, thus increasing medical costs for hospital bedrest for mom, and NICU care for multiple babies, resulting in more cost to the company as well.

Anonymous said...

GREAT for you for having the courage to send a letter like that! The one thing I'm hesitant about is whether it's a good thing to include the cost breakdown of all the procedures. You're kind of reminding them how expensive covering IF treatments would be for them, kwim? I just feel like whoever is in charge would read that, see all the $$zeros$$ and think 'damn that's expensive! And by her own admission she has nothing to show for it!'

I think you should focus more on the work productivity thing. That's a great point. Also, ditto the pp who mentioned that other states are starting to require IF coverage.

Again, though, KUDOS for your courage.

Anonymous said...

That's a good letter, very genuine but not combative. The IUI/IVF cost/benefit point is always good to include. I'd like to clue in my company about that too.

Also, I just read your previous post. About the lap, I really wanted one after the first ivf failed, but now I'm not sure it wasn't just a waste. It did give me peace of mind to know that it couldn't be interfering but my results for ivf2 were exactly the same, in embryo quality and behavior. Good luck girl, I think about you guys a lot and hope you find a way!

Sara said...

Stacey... I first wanted to let you know how proud I am of you! You're my best friend and I support you 100% no matter what so keep up the fight!!!

About the letter... I would agree about the discussion of money (keep it to a minimum)... focus on emotions and work production... and grasp at heart strings! Make them feel what you are feeling. You are great at research so get them the information they need to make an executive desicion... since we work for the same university I would be happy to do what I can to help!

You go girl!!!!
Love you! Sara