Family building benefits are one of the most coveted benefits being offered in 2020. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, about one-third of companies with 500 or more employees now provide some sort of fertility benefit. That’s up from 24% in 2016. In addition, 17 states are requiring health insurance to cover some aspect of fertility treatments and medication.
More than ever, employees are expecting fertility benefits from their employers, and the competition to retain talent makes it equally important for employers to step up. Infertility is an emotional and personal topic and employees often feel uncomfortable sharing their fertility issues with their employer. Taking the time to advise them on how to fully take advantage of the benefit will create a trusting partnership between the employee and the company, while also mitigating some of the stress and anxiety that can accompany the fertility journey. Here are some suggestions:
1 – Make your benefit inclusive — The definition of infertility is defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. However, a diverse workforce has a diverse set of needs. In an effort to accommodate a more diverse portion of the employee population, many companies are migrating to a broader benefit offering that includes a single lifetime benefit maximum covering a variety of services. Offering an inclusive single limit that may include fertility preservation, fertility treatments, medications, egg and sperm freezing as well as adoption and surrogacy, is an attractive benefit for workers planning families.
2 – Provide advocacy and support — The family building journey can be an emotional one for many individuals and couples. The more support your company provides means happier employees. While offering a fertility benefit is a great start, offering a managed fertility benefit allows your employees to connect with clinical experts that guide them through their journey and assist in finding the right, high-quality providers and treatment plan for their individual needs. 24/7 clinical oversight can help prevent multiple births and improve outcomes, which ultimately decreases costs for the employer. A good managed benefit will also include access to behavioral experts who your employee can turn to for the emotional ups and downs that come with a family building journey.
3 – Use modern technology and virtual support — While there are many apps employees can tap, the technology should simplify employee lives with virtual consultations and personalized digital access to benefit description and enrollment all in one location. Features like mobile accumulator tools, personalized ID cards and advanced find-a-doctor search tools help employees better utilize and understand these benefits.
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4 – Have a communication strategy — An HR professional understands the many layers of a benefit package, but employees will need some help understanding all of the options available to them. Having a multi-channeled internal communications strategy helps organize the information and engage employees. Email campaigns with important updates, social media events offering live Q&A sessions, webinars and videos are all useful approaches. If your company has a managed benefit you can engage employees with webinars and presentations delivered directly from the managed benefit company.
5 – Promote benefits throughout the year — Open enrollment should not be the only time fertility benefits are explained. Education on your company’s fertility benefit package should be spread out over the year with an on-going program including examples of ways in which employees can take advantage of the benefits. Delivering relevant monthly content will demystify the fertility benefit. The more an employee understands their benefit, the more prepared they will be to utilize it. Recurring education throughout the year will also ensure that employees are prepared for open enrollment.