The state of fertility benefits across the journalism industry
Companies across the country are expanding fertility coverage to compete for diverse talent.
Companies across the country are expanding fertility coverage to compete for diverse talent, and for good reason: More than half of IVF patients whose employers helped with the high cost said they were more likely to overlook other shortcomings and stay in the job longer. A survey from Carrot, a company that partners with employers to provide fertility coverage, showed that 62 percent of millennial women would choose a job that offered fertility benefits if other factors were equal.
Data from the CDC shows that 12 percent of women 15 to 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, making fertility issues more common than asthma. These numbers don’t include LGBTQ+ couples or single mothers. Yet, as of 2017, more than half of fertility patients have insurance that does not cover treatments. Only about a quarter of patients have coverage that pays for more than half of the expenses.
According to FertilityIQ.com, a site dedicated to providing treatment information and doctor reviews, an average egg freezing cycle costs $16,000, and a single cycle of IVF averages $23,474. Many women require more than one cycle to get pregnant.
Considerable fertility coverage was first offered by tech companies, but other industries, including journalism, are catching up.
David Schlanger, CEO of fertility benefits company Progyny, said it’s important for employers to provide fertility care because the treatments place a huge burden on the women and families going through it.
“Employers are recognizing the need to provide treatment and support their employees who are dealing with infertility, just as they do for any other disease or medical condition,” he said. “Employers also recognize that adding a fertility benefit has helped retain their top talent and attract new employees.”
A review of news companies’ fertility plans, which are detailed below, showed these benefits are typically administered in two ways: either through contracting with a company like Progyny or Carrot, or by choosing to provide extended coverage through the employees’ medical insurance.
A big caveat in coverage is whether the patient needs to be medically diagnosed as infertile. Plans with that requirement do not offer coverage to most LGBTQ+ couples, single parents or women who want to freeze their eggs just in case.
Below are the specifics of the fertility coverage plans offered across the journalism industry, which contain a ton of lingo. Here’s a quick guide to the most common terms:
Two media organizations reviewed contract with Progyny. This is an additional insurance plan that employees can use specifically for fertility, covering entire treatments from start to finish. The procedures include intrauterine insemination, IVF (fresh or frozen), frozen embryo transfer, egg and semen freezing, ICSI and others. Each service is given a cycle value, usually around one cycle each.
Dow Jones, which owns the Wall Street Journal and other news brands, offers three lifetime cycles.
Hearst, which owns newspapers, magazines and television stations nationwide, would not disclose how many cycles they cover.
Most news organizations, however, provide coverage through their insurance plans.
Atlantic Media's insurance plans include coverage for certain costs associated with IVF, GIFT, ZIFT, lab and radiology tests, counseling, surgical treatments and fertility drugs. The level of coverage depends on the plan the employee elects.
Bloomberg fully covers IVF and artificial insemination, including the initial consultation, labs and medication. They did not disclose the lifetime limit.
Bustle Media Group offers two coverage plans to employees. Under the premium health insurance plan, the company provides infertility service coverage if the individual has been diagnosed as infertile. This plan covers IVF, ZIFT, GIFT, cryopreserved embryo transfers, ICSI and ovum microsurgery. The plan covers three cycles of treatment. Egg and embryo freezing and storage are not included.
BuzzFeed offers several health insurance plans, and one of them covers up to $10,000 in fertility diagnosis and treatment services, such as ovulation induction and monitoring, artificial insemination, ultrasounds and laparoscopies. Employees need to be authorized to be eligible.
Gannett, which owns more than 100 news brands, including USA Today and the Detroit Free Press, offers a medical plan that covers the services to find the reason for infertility, as well as the treatment for underlying medical conditions, such as low estrogen. They are looking at options to add fertility treatments such as IVF.
IAC, which owns The Daily Beast, provides coverage for IVF and other fertility treatments that are specific to medical conditions. The level of coverage depends on the plan, but their most popular plan covers these expenses at 85 percent. They cover egg freezing in certain cases and are looking to expand that coverage.
New York Media, which owns New York Magazine and its online verticals such as The Cut, offers four health insurance plans, and the fertility coverage varies with each. Egg freezing, embryo freezing and IVF are all covered, but the cost share depends on where the service is performed. It is not contingent on being medically diagnosed as infertile.
The New York Times covers IVF cycles, along with the associated labs, doctor’s appointments and medications. The plans do not cover egg freezing or storage. Lifetime limits vary depending on the coverage plan chosen by the employee.
One news organization provides coverage through a reimbursement program.
Turner, which owns Bleacher Report and CNN, among other brands, allows full-time, benefits-eligible employees to reimburse up to $13,460 for fertility costs.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, NPR, The Tampa Bay Times and the Washington Post refused to participate in this report. Advance Local, Conde Nast, Cox Media Group, Disney, Gizmodo Media Group, Lee Enterprises, McClatchy, Tribune Media, Tronc, Vice Media and Vox did not respond to multiple requests for comments. Scripps and Where By Us did not provide enough information to include.
If you or your partner are experiencing infertility or are thinking about freezing your eggs, consider talking to your company’s HR team to find out what fertility coverage is offered.
Things Worth Reading
One way to deal with rejection is to abide by the 20-minute rule.
Women tend to feel uncomfortable mixing friendship and business, cutting themselves off from a traditional way to get ahead.
How to give a better pep talk.
What to do if you work for a queen bee.
Should successful women talk about work/life balance? Here’s an argument for why they should, even though we all know it’s a sexist question.
Nearly half of LGBTQ Americans haven't come out at work.
Some good thoughts here on how you schedule your day.
This Q&A with Alison Green on what it usually means when a workplace says “We’re like family.”
This is #brandedcontent, but there are some great nuggets in here about when to schedule meetings.
Do Your Homework
Are you making space for your brain to decompress? I’ve thought a lot about this after moving to New York. When I lived in Miami, I loved having some time in the car by myself to free think. I miss having those moments to brainstorm, work through tough problems or think of nothing at all. I’m now trying to push myself to put down my phone on the subway and just sit there with no music, Twitter or Candy Crush. Can you carve out five minutes a day for free thinking?
Focus on the Work
KCRW commissioned host and producer Allison Behringer to create the documentary-style podcast “Bodies” through its Independent Producer Project. Kristen Lepore, the manager of the Independent Producer Project, said the initiative allows the freelancers to own the rights to their work while offering them editorial and marketing support.
Each episode explores a medical mystery like painful sex, but instead of centering around the answer, the story focuses on the journey women take to get information about their body.
“I've learned more about my body from talking with other women than I have at the doctor's office,” Lepore said. “And that's what we hope this show will do: encourage people to talk about their health more openly amongst themselves and to be better advocates for themselves in their relationships and among healthcare providers.”