Adrienne shares how research and initiative led to quick changes to Indeed’s birth option coverage for her and other expecting Indeedians
Adrienne is a Learning & Development Strategist for Indeed Hire and the Regional Co-Chair for Latinx in Tech. She began her Indeed journey in June 2013 in San Mateo, Calif., in Inside Sales and is now on the Training and Development team in Scottsdale, Ariz. She is married, has a 7-year-old stepson, and just had a beautiful baby at home thanks to Indeed’s new home birth coverage!
Content warning: This story contains discussion around miscarriage and may prove triggering to some.
I found out I was pregnant at the beginning of December 2019, the day after the Indeed Holiday Party. This was my “Rainbow Baby” (a baby born subsequent to a miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of an infant from natural causes) after my miscarriage in June 2019.
When I saw the two lines on the test, I was honestly scared — scared of reliving what happened just a few months before. I didn’t want to get excited because I deeply understood that nothing about pregnancy is guaranteed. I didn’t tell anyone, except my husband, until I was 14 weeks pregnant.
Once I hit week 12, I saw my baby via ultrasound, and I knew in my heart that it was now OK to be excited. It was now OK to share this gift I have been given, with the world.
Looking at Indeed’s Insurance Options
I spend so much time memorizing the benefits offered to Indeedians, and I encourage every person to know what is available to you. The medical booklet and schedule of benefits is found directly on the insurance website and breaks down in detail our coverage and options.
Having a home birth was always a dream of mine. I had been meeting with the co-chair of Women at Indeed and the founder of Parents & Caregivers IRG around this time to discuss us approaching Indeed’s Head of HR, Paul Wolfe, to improve the offerings at Indeed regarding issues that matter to women and caregivers. We decided to put our focus on things like onsite childcare, a childcare stipend, longer maternity leave offering, and better WFH options (especially for Sales).
During our meetings I brought up issues like home birth insurance coverage, facility fees covered at Birth Centers, and coverage for a Doula (a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible).
Then it was March 2020 and COVID-19 became all and everything. Indeedians were asked to work from home, hospitals were at capacity, and toilet paper was nowhere to be found. This was such a scary time for all of us, but imagine being pregnant.
This is truly what got my wheels turning on reforming the shortcoming I had identified almost a year ago during my first pregnancy. Indeed did not offer any coverage for home births. Being pregnant, the last place I would want to go right now was a hospital. This was my shot, and I was not going to give this up.
Starting at the top
I decided to write a letter to Paul outlining my concerns. Below is an excerpt from my email.
“I think about women who are maybe 7-9 months pregnant at this time and maybe wanting to avoid hospitals or fearing what the state of hospitals will be in 2 months when they are due. Currently our insurance doesn’t cover any home birth options at all. It would be all out of pocket for that employee,” I wrote to Paul in mid-March when the COVID concerns were really ramping up.
“This is something so small but also so huge to us pregnant women and our families. Having the option if things really do get worse and hospitals are maxed out on capacity to have a birth at home with trained midwives and doulas.”
I made sure to point out that Indeed’s current policy didn’t cover home births or Doula coverage.
Even if this pandemic was not in existence, having the right to choose how we birth our babies should be our choice and insurance options should be provided at those levels, I told Paul in my email.
A benefits team member responded to my email to Paul the same day and said my request seemed “very reasonable,” and that they would look into this with our U.S. insurance provider. I did a dance around my house; I was so happy.
And just four days later, the team member shared with me that the insurance plan now covered home births with a licensed midwife! I ended up crying in joy and had a major feeling of accomplishment. I felt so proud of Indeed (Paul and team). It was validation that raising issues that matter to you is important (because they probably matter to others!) and having the courage to ask. I felt heard. “This is the best company on the planet,” I screamed!
How I Prepared
Indeed likely heard me because I did my research and was professional. I read books, credible articles, and framed the benefit for Indeedians as a whole, rather than just myself. I thoughtfully summarized the benefits of home birth, plus the financial implications, and shared this with Indeed to build the case. My path continues, as I will continue to advocate for birth center, doula and additional pregnancy coverage.
Welcome Arabelle Vanessa Smith
Adrienne gave birth to a healthy girl named Arabelle Vanessa Smith on August 20, 2020. She came in a 20 inches long and 7 lbs 7 oz. Congratulations to the Smith family! Enjoy the maternity leave and thank you for all you do Adrienne.