5 reasons employers should offer sponsored fertility benefits

09 Sep

5 reasons employers should offer sponsored fertility benefits

Demand for top talent is pushing plan sponsors to enhance their employee benefits. Some are making changes to their fertility benefits and publicly sharing the details in an effort to attract and retain key talent.

A recent Willis Towers Watson study of employer groups, found that 66% of employers planned to offer a fertility benefit by the start of 2019, compared to 55% in 2017. The market continues to change — for example, smaller companies are now looking for family-building solutions and benefit limits are increasing. This trend is a reflection of the high demand employees have for family friendly benefits.

Offering fertility benefits helps companies recruit and retain top talent, but it also helps employees to feel more happy and fulfilled at work. According to Fertility IQ, more than 32% of employees say that they will stay with a company longer if that company offers a fertility benefit. As plan sponsors enhance their family-building benefits they are looking to measure the results with regard to costs, outcomes and productivity. A comprehensive fertility program that is clinically managed by experts in the fertility field will deliver on all of those needs. Here are five employer advantages that come from offering a managed fertility benefit.

Deep healthcare savings for the employer
A managed fertility benefit, one that provides clinical oversight throughout an employee’s fertility journey, allows both the employee and the employer to lean on the experience and knowledge of those managing the benefit. These programs increase the likelihood of a healthy singleton pregnancy while decreasing pharmacy, neonatal intensive care unit and other healthcare related costs. According to the WINFertility database, the average nursery/NICU admission for high-order multiple gestations (triplets) can cost $400,000, while NICU costs for twins can run over $80,000. These are high costs that can be avoided with a healthy, full-term singleton baby. Managed fertility benefit solutions drive more successful outcomes by utilizing medical protocols like elective single embryo transfer. These protocols greatly reduce the risk of twins and triplets, in turn, reducing the risk of premature births and the long-term healthcare costs for chronic conditions that often accompany premature babies throughout their lives.
Improved outcomes means improved employee loyalty
The infertility journey is a stressful one that takes a toll on an individual’s emotional and physical health. Each family-building journey is unique. An employer that offers benefits to help employees explore various treatment options and pursue those most likely to be effective, earns a high degree of loyalty from the employees who utilize these programs. Improved outcomes — more full-term, healthy singleton babies — means happy employees. An uptick in employee loyalty reduces costs associated with lost productivity connected to turnover.

According to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, employees have strong, positive feelings toward employers that offer coverage for fertility treatment. Research found that employees have a high rate of satisfaction with their employer if fertility benefits are offered, compared to employers who do not offer a benefit. The research notes a four-fold increase in employees believing their employer is meeting the needs of today’s families; a two-fold increase in the belief that their employer listens to their needs; and 1.5 times as many believe their employer cares about their well-being.

A more engaged and productive workforce
When fertility treatment options are not covered by a health plan the employees’ long-term finances are greatly impacted. Fertility treatments are both expensive and unpredictable; they may not succeed the first time and this can place financial stress on the employee, causing significant distraction at work.

Given that the average U.S. household earns $51,000 in pre-tax income and the average cost of IVF treatment can range from $22,000-$30,000 (depending on the city of treatment, medications used and testing required), fertility coverage makes a real and life-changing difference for those who need treatment but could not otherwise afford it.

Giving employees access to clinical guidance and oversight throughout their fertility journey will decrease their stress on multiple fronts, helping them to stay engaged at work. In addition to decreased stress related to financing, employees that utilize a managed fertility benefit often return to work sooner than those that do not. An appropriately managed program follows clinical protocols that reduce the chances of multiple gestations and time spent by new parents, in the NICU.

Inclusive benefits that support all employees
With the advent of egg freezing, adoption, surrogacy, as well as egg and sperm donation, the path to becoming a family is more diverse. In a recent study by the Family Equality Council some inspiring statistics state that 77% of LGBTQ+ millennials (ages 18-35) are already parents or are considering having children – a 44% increase over previous generations. These staggering statistics indicate that a benefit offered to one employee must be offered to all employees. This holistic view of family-building benefits supports the well-being of an increasingly diverse workforce and makes a cultural statement on your company’s value for diversity in the workplace.
Enhancing an employers reputation
Companies who offer fertility benefits earn a reputation as a family friendly employer when they provide support for family-building with fertility benefits. This positive PR spreads and turns into a valuable employee recruitment and retention tool. Today, many large brands openly promote their fertility benefits. This level of exposure directly builds positive brand awareness and consumer goodwill. The trend in companies offering fertility benefits is encouraging news for employees facing the challenges of infertility. Furthermore, there is a growing landscape of employers offering fertility benefits, from non-profit organizations to tech companies and even more small businesses offering increased benefits. Employees have more choices about where to work and employers offering fertility benefits will have happy employees who want to stay.