You may have seen the news last week about new fertility benefits for Walmart employees… What? Why? What is the big deal? For those of us not currently living in USA where we don’t have to pay for every aspect of healthcare with no rebate from the government, you may be wondering how does IVF in USA make news?
If you haven’t done a round of IVF you may not be aware of how much of a good deal the Walmart employees are getting, to be fair it isn’t completely clear from their press release how generous they are being, but that fact that Walmart has added fertility treatments makes a big difference. The press release does say that Walmart’s health plan gives $20k lifetime max for surrogacy or adoption, so I wonder if IVF is the same..
IVF in USA
Most health insurance companies don’t cover IVF treatments, and if they do they will usually only cover the procedure, not the medications. If you don’t have health insurance that covers IVF you have to pay out of pocket for the treatment. But some companies are using fertility cover as a way to entice female workers into their business. I have read and watched many women online saying that they only got a job at Starbucks for the health insurance benefits, specifically IVF.
Autumnwantsababy on Tiktok lists all the companies that cover IVF with their health insurance, from what I have read Starbucks and Target are the only ones at the moment that cover part-time employees. Autumnwantsababy admits straight up on her TikTok channel that she got her job at Starbucks just for the fertility benefits on the health insurance plan. You may be thinking that is nuts, who does that? Well, she is not the only one. The number of women in the Facebook groups who say that they got a part-time role at Starbucks (usually on top of their full time role) just for the benefits astounds me, but I also get it.
The cost of a round of IVF in the USA is on average about US$20,000 per cycle, that cost does depend on what you have and the medications you are prescribed, but you can instantly see that to come up with this amount of money once is hard enough yet alone three times (the average number of times women do IVF to get pregnant).
Comparing that to Australia where you get refunds from the government so you pay about AU$8,000 (approx US$5,000) out of pocket (ie after the refunds) for one IVF cycle, we do get a good deal here, although unfortunately not every cycle in the same tax year gets the same rebates.
Of course, the other option is going overseas, when I went to Spain for my donor embryo transfer I paid 4000 euros (approx US$4000), this doesn’t include medications. Obviously, the challenge with going overseas is that you need to do much more organising in regards to tests etc, and not everyone has the time or the money for flights.
There is a Facebook group for anyone in USA looking for jobs that cover IVF on their health insurance called Progyny IVF jobs – if you are looking to change roles or get a new role that gives you benefits this is a good place to start.
It’s hard, we all know that IVF is hard, as it is not just the money that you are spending but also the emotional and physical energy that you use going through the process. I’m not sure what the answer is, but more companies in USA covering fertility on health insurance definitely help relieve the pressure in one aspect of IVF in USA. If youa re reading this and did your IVF in USA I’d love to hear your story in the comments.