An employer-sponsored fertility benefit was once considered a luxury. More than ever, it is an essential part of a company’s HR toolbox.
Employers in a wide range of economic sectors have started offering a Managed Fertility Allowance as a tool to recruit and retain the best employees. Companies specializing in financial services, healthcare, professional services, retail, manufacturing and technology, as well as higher education, municipalities and law firms are all leading the trend.
Related: The Measurable Return on Investment of Clinically Managed Fertility Benefits
Here are four things to consider when designing your employer-sponsored fertility benefit plan:
1. How much will the program cost
As a sponsor of the fertility plan, your company has a fiduciary responsibility to make it useful and valuable to your employees. It is also essential to be aligned with the supplier when it comes to costs. How much does the fertility provider spend on drugs, recommend the most effective treatments, and refer patients to in-person clinical appointments? There is no reason to pay too much.
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Your fertility program manager should make an effort to monitor how care is administered. This helps ensure quality results for your employees and promotes efficiency in spending. The best way to improve results is to educate the patient. Do they choose a doctor who has experience in overcoming the challenges the patient and their partner face? Choosing not to work with a qualified reproductive endocrinologist in the first place can increase costs for both employers and patients.
Cost is the most important element in ensuring the sustainability of your fertility benefit program. Purchasing fertility care and related pharmaceuticals can be inefficient, so make sure all costs are presented transparently.
2. Company culture
Define how the fertility benefit program fits into your corporate culture. Simply put, why are you offering this to your employees? Is its main objective to attract quality employees and retain your existing talents? To increase employee productivity? Promote diversity, equity and inclusion?
Your program manager should be well versed in supporting people of all ethnicities, financial positions and geographic locations. What is the standard for fertility care in your immediate area? A good program manager will help patients access the best care, even when they are not in their immediate area.
Keep in mind that standard health plans cannot be counted on to meet all of the needs of a patient being treated for infertility. A provider separate from the main health systems in your area is needed.
3. Program management
In an unmanaged fertility benefit, a patient can spend up to a predetermined limit (dollars or cycle) at their own discretion. But this approach can be fraught with inefficiencies. Prospective parents need advocacy, counseling and clinical support.
In a managed fertility service, a clinician (preferably and a registered nurse) is available every step of the way to advocate for patients: helping them understand their benefits, finding the doctors they need, understanding their history medical care and diagnosis, navigate medications, meet their emotional and behavioral support needs.
A clinically trained advocate is sensitive to the diversity of patient situations – everything from postpartum to behavioral support and testing of male factors and can be a critical advocate for each of them. This saves the patient time and stress, and saves employers money by eliminating potentially unnecessary expenses for unnecessary doctor visits and medications.
4. Family reinvestment
Traditionally, employers viewed an employee walking through the office door as the start of their relationship. It is more and more interesting to think of helping the employee outside the workplace as well.
The idea of an employer providing additional financial support from preconception to fertility, and then back to work and parenthood is gaining popularity. The effective management of a fertility program offers an opportunity to reinvest in broader family services.
Suppose a managed fertility allowance program could save a business $ 1,000 in expenses per employee. The company may choose to reinvest these savings in, for example, family coaching or in-home male factor testing for its employees.
The concept of family services is driven by the need for employers to support their employees in family building more extensively than they have in the past. By designing a meaningful fertility benefit plan, the business can have a direct impact on the lives of employees in a deeply meaningful way.
Peter Nieves is the Commercial Director of WINFertility. He is responsible for the profitable growth, product strategy and expansion of WIN. Peter has over 25 years of experience in employee benefits consulting and the P&C industry.