Starbucks Expands Fertility Benefits -The 411

Employees at Starbucks now have access to broader fertility benefits.

Starting this month, the coffee giant is bolstering its benefits to reimburse for surrogacy and intrauterine insemination not covered by health insurance. Workers will receive reimbursements of up to $10,000 per qualifying event, with a lifetime maximum of $30,000.

Lifetime maximums for fertility benefits are also increasing under Starbucks medical plans — to $25,000 from $15,000 for fertility services, and to $10,000 from $5,000 for prescription drugs. All full- and part-time benefit employees who work at least 20 hours per week are eligible for the benefits.

A company spokesperson told Employee Benefit News, Starbucks wanted to update its Family Expansion Reimbursement program to assist employees whose needs are not fully met by health insurance.

“We made this change to assist partners whose needs may not be met by their healthcare insurance company, such as same-gender couples looking to become parents or individuals seeking fertility services,” a Starbucks spokesperson said in an email.

While nearly all (87%) employers cover some kind of infertility benefit through their health plan, companies are expanding their benefits to cover different services such as surrogacy and egg freezing, according to data from the National Business Group on Health. Of that group, some 71% of employers cover in vitro fertilization, 69% cover artificial insemination and 34% cover egg freezing.

Fertility services are often expensive — the average IVF cycle costs $12,000, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Benefits that cover some of the cost can help to ease the burden on workers. Large employers including Microsoft, Cisco and MassMutual all offer fertility benefits to workers.

Starbucks has been making big changes to its benefits. Last year the company said it would spend $250 million on new employee benefits including a pay boost for domestic workers, in the wake of the federal tax overhaul. In September, the company updated its employee assistance program with a new long-term initiative that includes an enhanced employee assistance program and mental health training for store managers, which will begin in the second quarter of next year.

“We brought 12,000 store leaders together for an unprecedented session on mental well-being and emotional first aid,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement about the updated EAP program. “That was just the first step in a new long-term initiative to take a stand, help break the stigma around mental health, and get even more partners and their loved ones the support they need.”

Starbucks offers a number of other family-friendly benefits including parental leave, employee and family sick time, and backup child and adult care. It also provides tuition reimbursement to workers looking to earn a bachelor’s degree.

“We are consistently evolving our benefits as we continue to listen and learn from our partners (employees),” the company told EBN. “It has long been our belief that when we put our partners first.”

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Vatican and Colusseum Tour – the photo 411

Today we took a full day tour of the Vatican and Colusseum. My mother got separated from the group an hour into the 3 hr Vatican tour. We did not find her until towards the end and my daughter showed her natural born AZZ this day right here !

It was a combination of not sleeping all night and having to leave out at 7 am which is 1 am back home, sleepiness, crankiness and feeding off of my anxiety about my mom… we knew by checking that she had not fallen ill, so she was just separated. What could go wrong in a foreign country when you get separated, left your phone, ID, money etc with the baby and I?

Well, here are a few photos lol.

Family Vacation 2019 – The 411

This year, my sister Jette and her husband organized the annual family vacation. We spent a week and half in the beautiful Destin, Florida in a oceanside home rental.It was great to be with my mom, sisters, and their husbands and all the children all under one roof, cooking, hanging out, laughing, reminiscing.We explored Destin, took a day trip to Panama City Beach, went to a sea animal aquarium, went out on jetskis in Gulf, and also charted a boat for a few hours to go out on the Gulf for the Thursday Nite Destin Fireworks Show. We spent countless hours on the beach and just enjoyed hanging out.My daughter was elated to see her cousins and hang out with them. She is always excited to go on “HOLIDAY”, as she calls it, thanks to Peppa Pig !Now we are packing and getting ready to go on HOLIDAY again next week for her annual birthday trip. Her theme this year is #CGBTakesItaly #PizzaPastaAndGelatoI am very excited to spend an entire month in Italy with her exploring the entire country. Next week can not get here fast enough ! 🙂

Happy Birthday To Me – The 411

As I get ready to celebrate another birthday, I often reflect on the previous year and make a plan for the next.

I have spent time over the past month or so reevaluating my life, the people in it, my goals, and my future and what I want.

I have distanced myself from everyone and everything that disturbs my peace. Sad to say, several friends/associates and also my friend, that I was co-parenting with, is on that list ! I can not tell you how much more peaceful my life has been and how quiet things have been since I stopped being the garbage disposal for everyone that wanted to dump their problems, their failures, and their issues at my doorstep. As a parent to a little girl who deserves ALL of my attention, ALL of my peace, and ALL of my wholeness, I had to continue to cut some cords. Some people created drama and left on their own, and I am not one you can gaslight and try to flip the switch with. As quickly as I can love someone, I can also turn those feeling completely off and go into self preservation mode. I will work through the disappointment, but I give it all to God and keep it moving and never look back !

I am happier, less stressed, and an even better parent because of if it. Everything happens for a reason and in God nothing happens by happenstance. All of the people we are connected to are there for a reason and a season. We just need to know when to let a season end. It is when we continue to allow people into our orbit who have expired is when they cause headaches for us unnecessarily.

This year, I had planned to have a quiet day for my birthday, but my mom and daughter have some secret something planned and I am supposed to be ready to go at 10 am.

Tomorrow is my mother’s birthday and I got her a gift card to Amazon, sent her an Urban Stems floral arrangement and am taking her to dinner and a show tomorrow evening. The baby and I went to Kay Jewelers and baby girl got her a gorgeous pair of solid gold earring studs. I bought her a car for Mother’s Day so there is no way to really top that LOL.

We are in the final planning stages of my daughter’s birthday trip and things are coming together and I am so very excited ! This year we will be gone to Europe for an entire month ! How exciting is that? I will post about the trip later in a separate post.

Happy Mother’s Day 2019 ! – The 411

We had a nice quiet Mother’s Day. We spent the majority of the day at home since we spent the week in Charleston, SC and Charlotte, NC.

Baby girl wanted her favorite soup so we ate dinner at Carrabbas and she enjoyed Chicken Sicilian Soup.

My mom had a great Mother’s Day, as baby girl and I purchased her a new car. She got the car when we had it delivered two weeks ago, but she is still blown away. She has had her eye on an Audi A4 quattro for a while because her A6 is too big for her now. She does not really drive so I do not know why she kept making noise about a car ! The baby has claimed the car as “her car !” Lol

 

We also gave my mom a book with African Proverbs, a cute mom tee, and a candle from White Barn.

I got nice gifts (that I picked out) from my baby. I got clothing from J Crew, candles from White Barn, a new Samsung Galaxy S10+, a 128 GB iPad, and a turmeric facial polish I wanted.

I also got a faux mink throw from my godmother.

I got calls and texts of well wishes all day from everyone, with the exception of my “no longer” coparenting ex-friend. That is a whole other post ! Lol. His mother reached out to me for the first time in 2.5 years and wished me a Happy Mother’s Day and to state that she and her family want to meet the baby and be an active part of her life. That was really sweet and we will be traveling to NY soon so that they can meet baby girl in person. They have pictures of her over her life but have not met her in person.

Baby girl and I are spending the morning watching shows I DVR’d since I fell asleep early last night. I am sure a few episodes of Peppa Pig will be thrown in there lol.