Infertility is more common than people think and continues to be a growing problem among women. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 19% of women with no prior births between the ages of 15 and 49 struggle with infertility.
Regardless of the increasing number of those struggling with fertility problems, many insurance companies do not provide coverage for fertility treatments. However, as of Jan. 2022, The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), began including coverage of infertility care for employees and dependents in all of its medical plans.
“Offering this coverage speaks to UAB’s commitment to its employees and those hoping to start a family,” says Warner Huh, M.D., professor and chair of the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Some of the best corporations in the U.S. as well as many leading academic institutions offer this coverage to employees, and this puts us shoulder to shoulder with them.”
As an advocate for women’s health and a UAB employee himself, Huh felt that UAB could increase its efforts to support those interested in starting families. Huh approached UAB Human Resources and advocated for coverage to be offered to employees, stating that it was an important and necessary benefit.
Tim McElroy, operations administrator for the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, states that the UAB Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility has advocated for this coverage for many years.
“We are elated at the prospect of providing infertility care to many more UAB employees and dependents who were previously unable to afford it,” says McElroy. “Our providers, clinic staff, and dedicated financial counselor have prioritized understanding the new infertility benefits to help our patients make the most informed financial and medical decisions possible.”
As of Jan. 2022, all UAB, University of Alabama Health Services Foundation, and UAB Health System benefit plans include a $5,000 lifetime benefit for infertility medical care – which covers all treatments, including in vitro fertilization (IVF) – and a $5,000 lifetime pharmacy benefit for infertility drugs.
“The burden of infertility treatment is not only physical – there are significant mental and financial components to therapy that are often equally challenging,” says Sukhkamal Campbell, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. “By providing fertility benefits through insurance for our employee patients at UAB, we are able to help offset and relieve some of the financial stressors of the fertility journey. By doing so, we are allowing patients to focus more on being able to achieve their family building goals, which can be so freeing and is so important.”
According to Huh, UAB is helping build the community in the Birmingham area and the state by offering this coverage to employees.
“Alabama has a long way to go when it comes to women’s health, but if we can continue to push the needle in the right direction in our own microcosm, we can help create a ripple,” says Huh.
If you are a UAB employee and would like more information regarding this benefit, visit the UAB Human Resources website at uab.edu/humanresources.
Source: UAB News