Fertility benefits are on the rise as employers look for new ways to attract and retain talent. 44% of employers with more than 20,000 workers offered some sort of IVF benefit in 2018, according to Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, compared with 37% in 2017—and that number is expected to rise, as the demand for fertility services has hit record highs each year since 2008.
High-quality fertility benefits are helping to drive employee retention, satisfaction, and loyalty. Employees whose companies covered their fertility treatments reported a greater feeling of loyalty toward their employers: employees are 1.5 times more likely to recommend working for their employer if they offer fertility benefits. On the flip side, over half of female employees whose companies don’t offer fertility benefits say that they would consider changing jobs to get them.
What are ‘best-in-class’ fertility benefits?
According to Fertility IQ’s 2016-2017 rankings of “The Best Companies to Work For as a Fertility Patient,” truly “best-in-class” fertility benefits packages are marked by the following components:
No cap on the cost of fertility treatment;
Benefits are equally available to anyone including same-sex, LGBTQIA+ couples, and single parents by choice;
Employees have the freedom to choose their own clinics and providers; and
Commonly-used “add-on” treatments—like pre-implantation screening, which helps minimize the rate of miscarriage—are included in coverage.
Perhaps the most critical opportunity for companies to differentiate themselves, however, lies mostly in the “how”.
“Employees are 1.5 times more likely to recommend working for their employer if they offer fertility benefits.”
Understanding the limits and outcomes of unmanaged fertility benefits
Employers can offer two types of fertility benefits: lifetime maximum benefits or clinically managed solutions. A lifetime maximum fertility benefit, or unmanaged reimbursement, is the most common, with companies providing a maximum dollar amount that they will reimburse an individual employee up to for fertility treatments, including IVF, medication, and IUI. But the money is where it stops.
Without any guidance on how to use the reimbursement, individuals are left to navigate the complex fertility journey alone. Unmanaged fertility benefits can lead to dramatically increased claims as treatments administered without proper coordinated care and clinical guidance frequently lead to multiple births—associated with increased health risks for women and their offspring, as well as substantial financial costs to families and employers. An unmanaged benefit can also impact employee productivity, absenteeism, and mental health as the fertility journey can be draining, time-consuming, and stressful.
What’s worse, many of these policies leave out LGBTQIA+ couples and single parents, as it’s common for plans to stipulate that employees engage in 6-12 months of heterosexual intercourse before becoming eligible for fertility treatments.
Why clinically managed solutions are key
To implement a more effective and inclusive fertility benefit and drive the most desired outcomes of successful pregnancies and healthy births, all at lower overall costs, companies should provide a clinically managed solution that supports employees through each step of the complex fertility process. Clinically managed solutions connect clinical experts to employees and support each individual through their own personal path to reach their goals, guiding them to the best doctors, treatments, and medications at the lowest overall cost.
Here’s how Maven’s clinically managed fertility program drives outcomes:
Guidance & navigation: 24/7 Care Advocates provide individual guidance and referrals to clinics with high-success rates, helping reduce rounds for employees and spend for employers.
On-demand specialists: Maven members can talk to fertility specialists including Reproductive Endocrinologists, Mental Health Providers, and Relationship Coaches, helping to reduce stress and increase work engagement; plus, Maven’s Nutritionists specialize in fertility and help improve the likelihood of success in fewer rounds.
Unlimited appointments: Members can book as many video chat and messaging appointments as they need to, any time, with Maven’s providers.
Emotional support and content: Maven provides resources, webinars, and content with clinically-approved educational information, and members can connect in community forums with other members who have had similar experiences.
A holistic, end-to-end approach like Maven means any individual employee has support, guidance, and on-demand access to clinical experts at every step of their fertility journey.
The Bottom Line
By offering a high-quality, clinically managed fertility benefit like Maven, companies can stand out in a tight labor market, increase employee loyalty, and demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion, while driving down claims, increasing ROI, and improving fertility experiences and outcomes for individuals.