Should ADA cover infertility treatments?

It wasn't easy, but after four tries at invitro fertilization, Electrician First Grade Jim Fishman finally became a father. He handed out cigars to the guys on the crew. "A 5-lb baby girl," he crowed.


It wasn't easy, but after four tries at invitro fertilization, Electrician First Grade Jim Fishman finally became a father. He handed out cigars to the guys on the crew.

"A 5-lb baby girl," he crowed.

"Is the kid good-looking or does she look like you?" a crony cracked.

"She looks like Lil," Jim replied happily.

His joy was short lived, however, when he learned that his company health insurance paid for the delivery, but would not cover his wife's infertility treatments. Jim lost no time protesting to his boss, Maintenance Supervisor Dan Richmond.

"It's a ripoff," he griped. "Denying that claim violates the Americans with Disabilities Act."

Richmond shrugged. "Sorry, Jim. It's a rough break, but infertility coverage is excluded under the company policy."

"I'm not sitting still for this," Fishman threatened.

Question: Does Jim have a case? Is his wife entitled to disability protection under ADA?

Plant Engineer's ruling: "No coverage," Plant Engineer Phil Grafton ruled when Richmond filled him in on the dispute. "Based on past rulings I've seen, infertility isn't classified as a disability under ADA because no impairment of a major life activity is involved. According to one arbitrator, 'Treating reproduction as a major life activity would be inconsistent with regulations and a considerable stretch of the federal law.' Congratulate Jim on my behalf, and please express my regrets about the insurance coverage."

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Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

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