Covering in vitro could save on high-Cost alternatives — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Covering in vitro could save on high-Cost alternatives

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Most progressive companies help employees who have young children by offering benefits such as child care and parenting advice. But a few are helping employees become parents—with a benefit that helps them pay for in vitro fertilization.

Merrill Lynch will cover employee costs for three in vitro fertilization cycles. The procedure costs about $10,000 per try. To respect its employees’ privacy, Merrill Lynch doesn’t disclose data on how many have used the benefit.

Workplace consulting firm William M. Mercer estimates that about 10% of U.S. couples require infertility treatment, but only half of them seek it. Just 2% opt for high-tech treatments like in vitro fertilization.

Mercer estimates that 21% of large companies offered in vitro coverage in 2007, an increase since 2000, when 17% paid for the procedure.

One of them is Citigroup, which will pay up to $24,000 toward benefits for an employee or spouse with medical documentation proving she is unable to conceive without treatment. The company also pays $7,500 toward fertility prescription drugs for employees whose health insurance plans don’t already cover the expense, according to Ana Duarte McCarthy, director of Citigroup’s Global Diversity Office.

Fifteen states have laws requiring at least partial insurance coverage for infertility treatment, according to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia.

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