Viewpoints from Allison Hasday
As a female millennial, one conversation that has come up with my employer clients – and my friends – is egg freezing. We’re talking about egg freezing for women who are excelling in their careers or are not ready to have a child for the sake of beating their ticking biological clocks. These women could be in a relationship, single, lesbian or transsexual, but they all know that a younger egg tends to be a healthier egg and they want to give their potential child the best chance at life.
So, what is a girl to do in this situation? Insurance carriers refer to this specific type of fertility preservation as social egg freezing – several unfertilized eggs are cryogenically frozen and preserved for a later time in the hopes of one day becoming an embryo, but there is no formal diagnosis of infertility. In the past, these types of services have only been covered by insurance when someone has been diagnosed as infertile, has a high potential to be infertile or is going through treatment of a disease that could cause infertility (think chemotherapy).
Health insurance is meant to help employees pay for their medical needs, but is an otherwise healthy female who would like to preserve her eggs at a young age considered to have a true medical need? If so, are medical massages also something that the employer group should share in the cost of? What about covering oxygen bars or fecal transplants to help cure an allergy? Where is it fair to draw the line?
Many would agree that infertility coverage, even social egg freezing, is a benefit that everyone should have access to. As my colleague mentions in a recent article about the IVF mandate in New York State, these services are now being recognized as fundamental on large group plans – but they will not immediately become ubiquitous benefits. Perhaps the happy medium is to arrange deep discounts for employees who would like these services instead of putting the entire cost of them on the insurance carrier or employer.