The future of health insurance and employee benefits: reproductive health

There are different ways to interpret Apple and Facebook’s adding egg freezing coverage to the employee benefits packages.  By itself, egg freezing can be empowering and liberating to women who worry about being able to achieve their career goals and have a family.   But for some complications arise when the egg freezing is payed for by an employer and they question why the employer is paying for it.

Whatever the message to women about their careers, the introduction of egg freezing as a subsidized employee health benefit does send a message to other employers and health care providers about the future of reproductive health care.  And not just by proving that reproductive health insurance insurance benefits are good for business.

“Despite ample evidence that covering assisted reproductive technology is generally good for business—a 2008 review found that 91 percent of companies that cover fertility treatments didn’t see a rise in costs to the employers—the vast majority of American employers still decline to provide the benefit, dismissing it as too expensive.”  Slate

“Benefits are, in addition to everything else, social indicators.  They reveal what we value, as a culture.  Paternity leave?  Reassignment surgery for transgendered employees?  Those offerings are bureaucratic changes that also show us where we are, and where we’re headed, together.“  The Atlantic

“Perhaps Facebook and Apple’s internal policy shift signals future progress for American women working at less prestigious jobs. Or perhaps it will remain as yet another example of how full reproductive choices are out of reach for most women.”  Slate

“So while the companies’ inclusion of egg-freezing [sic] as a health benefit may certainly be part of the Valley’s notorious perks arms race, you could also read it as a sign that egg-freezing has reached a kind of cultural normalcy.“  The Atlantic

Whether or not it’s covered by your employer and however you interpret Silicon Valley’s new health insurance program, the decision to freeze your eggs (or not) is a personal one and entirely up to you.  All of this media coverage has inspired many women to think about their fertility preservation and to wonder if egg freezing is right for them.