Adoption Assistance Benefits
Adoption can be a meaningful experience that gives a child a lifetime of love and opportunity. And in some cases, your work may have adoption assistance benefits that can help you offset the costs of adoption. Read on to learn more, or click here to talk to an adoption professional.
What are Adoption Assistance Benefits?
Adoption assistance benefits are employee benefits that can help you adopt.
These benefits can include:
- Counseling and referrals for adoption help
- Reimbursement or coverage for adoption expenses
In many instances employers are required to allow medical leave for an adoption through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and in some cases employers also offer additional paid or unpaid time off, but adoption assistance benefits go beyond these basics to help employees who choose adoption.
Does Insurance Cover Adoption?
Some employers may offer direct adoption assistance through company funds, but more often adoption assistance coverage is offered through an employer’s insurance plan.
In some cases, adoption assistance can come from adoption health insurance coverage through your main healthcare provider (Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, etc.), but employers can also add adoption benefits for employees through inclusive add-on insurance plans.
These additional insurance plans are often fertility-specific—for families who are experiencing infertility, who are interested in adoption, or who are interested in surrogacy. If you’re still considering these options, you can read our guide to adoption vs. surrogacy.
These insurance plans include:
What are the Financial Benefits of an Employer Adoption Assistance Plan?
Family-building methods like adoption often come with additional costs, and adoption assistance benefits can help. Employers who offer financial adoption assistance may cover a range of adoption expenses, and the disbursement of funds varies as well.
Adoption assistance programs will most commonly cover expenses like:
- Adoption application fees
- Agency fees
- Court costs
- Legal fees
- Medical costs
- Transportation costs and living expenses
- Counseling fees and post-adoption support
These funds may be given in a lump sum, given as a percentage of expenses as they occur, or may be reimbursed after placement of the child.
How Does an Employer Adoption Assistance Program Reimbursement Work?
An adoption reimbursement program can cover a percentage or set amount of expenses, usually after the adoption has occurred, or after a step of adoption has occurred. If your employer offers adoption reimbursement, here are some things to keep in mind:
- You will likely need to provide proof of expenses.
- Many reimbursement plans will cover a percentage of expenses up to a certain cap (for example, 80% of expenses until expenses reach $4,000).
- Reimbursement may come well after adoption (6 months or more after placement, or after finalization) so you will need to plan ahead to cover the expenses up front.
Do I Have Employer Adoption Assistance Benefits?
The best way to find out if you have employer adoption assistance benefits is to ask your benefits coordinator or human resources department. You can also seek out your employee benefits plan or contact your insurance provider for more information.
If you want to check if an employer may offer benefits for adoption, you can also seek out lists like this one from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which gives you insight into the most supportive employers for adoptive parents. Some employers that have made it on the list multiple years include:
But even if your employer isn’t listed, it doesn’t mean that your employer won’t support your adoption. It never hurts to ask if your employer has adoption benefits or if they are considering adding them.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption can help with tools and technical assistance for companies who want to begin offering adoption benefits.
You can also take a look at the lists of adoption friendly workplaces on Holt International’s website.
Eligibility for Adoption Assistance Program Benefits
When your employer offers adoption benefits, you will likely need to meet certain requirements to be eligible. These requirements can include:
- Type of Adoption: Stepparent adoption may not be covered, for example
- Employment Status: Full-time workers may be covered more often than part-time employees
- Length of Employment: Some employers may require that you work for the company a set amount of time before receiving benefits
- Enrollment in Company Health Plan: In some cases, you may have the option to opt-in or may need to enroll at a specific time to receive benefits
Does Health Insurance Cover Adoption Healthcare Costs?
Adoption assistance benefits can be a huge asset in offsetting adoption costs. But even if you don’t have adoption assistance benefits, there may be help available. If you have health insurance through your employer, you may have one less thing to worry about, as healthcare benefits for adoptive children are covered just as children you give birth to.
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