In today’s job market, health and retirement benefits are vital tools for competing for employees. The latest tool? Fertility benefits. According to the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, 40% of employers offer fertility benefits, which is an increase from 30% three years ago.
Jason Bornhorst, CEO and co-founder of First Dollar, a technology company that builds health spending benefits infrastructure, said this was part of a larger trend in health benefits. “Employers are listening to their employees and searching for new solutions,” he said. "And we're seeing third-party administrators rise to meet that need."
According to the World Health Organization, around 17.5% of the adult population – roughly one in six worldwide – experience infertility. And with steep out-of-pocket fertility treatment costs of over $10,000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, solutions are often inaccessible to many. For those struggling, it can be stressful, time-consuming and distracting from work. This is why fertility benefits, which may include infertility specialist evaluations, drug therapy, in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg freezing and more, have become a sought-after health benefit. In fact, one study found that 88% of employees would consider changing jobs to access fertility benefits. “It’s a really great way to attract someone,” Bornhorst said. “Or, alternatively, a really great way to lose someone because they may actually pick another job for just for that benefit..”
While offering a new health benefit may seem complicated, time-consuming and expensive for employers, Bornhorst said it didn’t have to be. He shared three reasons why more businesses are offering fertility benefits to employees.
1. Employers can improve retention while helping employees achieve their dreams of building a family. Family-building benefits build loyalty in employees, according to the FertilityIQ 2019-2020 Family Building Workplace Index. The study found that 61% of employees who received this kind of coverage said they felt more loyal and committed to their employer, and 53% stayed at their jobs longer; further, 88% of women who received IVF with the support of their employer returned to work after their maternity leave. “These benefits really go a long way in keeping employees – anyone who is actively looking to grow their family – happy,” Bornhorst said.
2. Fertility benefits can save employees from prohibitive expenses and support DE&I efforts for a minimal employer cost. Fertility treatments can be inaccessible to individuals who aren’t wealthy or don’t have access to resources. And yet, when companies add these treatments as a health benefit, they report that they’ve largely found them to be affordable, Bornhorst said. According to a fertility survey by Mercer, 97% of companies did not experience an increase in costs when they started offering fertility coverage. At the same time, more than 70% of companies surveyed said that offering these benefits helped their employees access quality, cost-effective care; 55% said the benefit supported diversity, equity and inclusion.
3. It doesn’t have to be complicated. The idea of adding a new benefit might conjure visions of paperwork mountains and endless manual input. And, until recently, those obstacles were real. But today, plan administrators and benefit providers have options like First Dollar to help ease the process for employers as well as employees. First Dollar provides the underlying infrastructure that enables such specialized benefits as fertility benefits. Employees access the benefit in their digital wallet, which is also home to their other health benefits, such as their health rewards, HSA, gym discounts and more. “Whether an employer is doing four benefits or 14, everything lives in a single card, a single app; it’s all easy to use from the employee’s perspective,” Bornhorst said. Because of that convenience, Bornhorst said, employees are more likely to enjoy their benefits. “Our third-party administrator clients see about a 36% increase in utilization because we put everything in one place and we make it really easy to access.”
Bornhorst said that when he thinks about specialized lifestyle benefits, including support for family-building, he feels energized about the future of work. These benefits are a way for a business to signal they care about their employees, they understand what they want and need and they are investing their resources accordingly. “When businesses work to understand and deliver for their employees in the same way they do for consumers,” he said, “everybody wins.”
In search of flexible health spending benefits infrastructure to offer embedded, seamless fertility benefits? Visit First Dollar.