Recent pregnancy trends are making fertility treatments an increasingly valuable benefit. According to the New York Times, more and more women are having babies later in life. Partly, this is because they want to establish financial stability before they start a family — a goal delayed for many by the Great Recession.
But older women are also more likely to have trouble conceiving. In fact, 1 in 8 couples — or 12 percent of married women — have trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant, reports CNBC. On the other side of this difficult truth, though, is a unique opportunity for employers to show their investment in their employees’ well-being.
Is covering fertility treatments a worthwhile choice for your business? Here’s what you need to know.
Is Fertility Coverage Right for Your Business?
Many insurance carriers’ basic coverage includes infertility diagnosis but doesn’t cover anything beyond that. However, in certain states some infertility treatments must be covered by health insurance plans.
If your regular health insurance plan doesn’t cover fertility treatments, they may be a financial burden many employees can’t consider taking on. In vitro fertilization (IVF), for example, can cost up to $20,000 per cycle — and may require three or more rounds before pregnancy is achieved.
A growing understanding of the need for coverage and the desire to help their employees have the family lives they want has more companies looking into the details of covering fertility treatments. For example, Starbucks covers up to $20,000 for IVF and related medicine even for its part-time employees, according to CBS News. Other companies that offer infertility coverage include Pinterest ($100,000 for four cycles of IVF and genetic screening), Ropes and Gray (unlimited coverage) and Spotify (unlimited coverage once employees show they’re eligible for treatment).
Infertility treatment coverage is a worthwhile investment for these companies because it helps them attract and retain talent while also creating goodwill with their customers. According to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, people whose employers provided IVF coverage were less likely to miss time at work and were happier with their jobs. And 88 percent of women whose IVF was fully covered by their employer returned to that same employer after maternity leave, FertilityIQ reports.
Fertility coverage comes in a few different forms, according to Willis Towers Watson. It can be offered through a health plan or it can be supplemental coverage offered through a third party. If you’re interested in fertility treatment coverage, talk to your health insurance broker about your options. In addition to fertility coverage, look for plans that have good benefits for women, from robust birth control coverage to comprehensive well woman care. This will help engage women employees no matter what their reproductive needs are.
According to RESOLVE, if you find the right plan, offering fertility treatment doesn’t have to increase your medical costs significantly. In fact, many companies saw no increase in health care costs when adding the benefit, and in some cases, comprehensive infertility coverage may actually reduce premiums by $1 a month.
When evaluating your options for this benefit, it’s important to determine exactly what’s covered. There are many treatments and tests associated with treating infertility, from genetic testing, blood work and IVF treatment to embryo freezing, ultrasounds and medications.
If you can’t add fertility treatments to your benefits offerings, you still have options to show your employees that you care. Help educate interested employees about ways they can finance fertility treatments. RESOLVE has a detailed list of infertility financing programs, including clinics that offer discount packages and financing, along with programs designed to offer loans specifically for infertility treatment. Some programs are income-based, while others require a certain level of credit to participate. RESOLVE also lists infertility grants and scholarships.
Along with providing these resources, make an effort to remain flexible around your employees’ doctors’ appointments related to pregnancy and fertility.
By 2019, about 66 percent of companies are expected to offer some form of fertility treatment coverage, Willis Towers Watson reports. It’s more important than ever to consider offering these benefits yourself, since doing so means not only showing that you care for your employees but also staying competitive and retaining your top talent.
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