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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