Family Benefits Trends

When someone says family or family-friendly benefits, you usually think of health insurance, paid time off, flexible hours, and childcare assistance.

Source: Photografeus / iStock / Getty

Now, in an effort to attract job candidates, some companies are adding another benefit to the list: fertility treatment.

Providing Support

The Wall Street Journal reports that big name companies are among employers adding or increasing fertility coverage, including technology firms Foursquare and Pinterest.

And it’s not only younger companies that are providing financial assistance for fertility treatment. Venerable financial services company American Express recently increased its lifetime maximum benefit from $20,000 to $35,000, and software company SAP recently expanded its coverage, according to the Journal.

These companies are not alone. In fact, they are not even in the minority.

The 2017 Maternity, Family and Fertility Survey from global advisory, broking, and solutions company Willis Towers Watson finds that among 497 U.S. employers with at least 100 employees – employers that collectively represent 7 million employees and operate in all major industry sectors – 55 percent offer fertility benefits. What’s more, that number is expected to grow to 66 percent by 2019.

Attention is also being given to inclusion. Of the employers currently offering fertility benefits, 65 percent offer coverage for fertility services to same-sex couples. That percentage is expected to increase to 81 percent by 2019.

Employee Recruitment and Retention

As with other benefits offerings, companies see fertility services as meeting a workforce need.

“Employers are evolving their health care programs to reflect that fertility benefits are becoming more important to many employees, including same-sex couples,” said Jeff Levin-Scherz, M.D., North American co-leader, health management practice at Willis Towers Watson. “The additional coverage is often a win-win proposition. It allows employers to provide a valued employee benefit while improving their ability to attract and retain top talent and support diversity initiatives.”

The survey provides additional details on employers’ motivations for offering fertility benefits and ways in which they are encouraging employees to use the coverage most effectively.

  • Among employers offering and enhancing fertility benefits:
    • 71 percent offer them to support their inclusion and diversity goals and objectives.
    • 59 percent do so to help recruit and retain top talent.
    • 49 percent do so to be recognized as a “best place to work.”
    • 49 percent say it supports the organization as a “woman-friendly workplace.”
  • Eighty-two percent of employers offering fertility coverage will continue doing so without changes in 2018; 17 percent will enhance their offerings, and just 1 percent will decrease benefits.
  • Employers are looking for innovative solutions to personalize fertility benefits. For example, 21 percent offer an app-based mobile phone fertility or maternity program, with 16 percent offering it through the health plan and 5 percent through other vendors.

Bottom Line

Fertility benefits vary and may include in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproduction as well as harvesting and freezing eggs.

These are expensive processes. Research shows that an IVF treatment typically runs about $20,000, and more than one treatment is often required. Harvesting and freezing eggs costs about $10,000, according to the Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California; thawing eggs costs an additional $5,000.

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