Why fertility benefits are still a must-have during uncertain times

Demand for fertility benefits has been on the rise for years — and even during uncertain economic times, there's no sign of it slowing down. If your clients are hesitant to bring on new programs right now, it's important to also consider what they would miss out on, including building a more competitive benefits package for the future. In this article, we will cover why fertility benefits are:

  • Still in demand for jobseekers
  • A solid demonstration of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • More affordable than many employers think

Demand for fertility benefits hasn’t slowed down

If recent years have shown us anything, it’s that health benefits are critical. Since COVID-19 began, public health has been a major point of conversation for employers and job seekers alike. And although the past few years have been unpredictable, we surprisingly also saw a wave of people choosing to leave their jobs in search of more supportive environments. In 2021, 43% of people who left their jobs named a lack of meaningful benefits as one reason why. The Great Resignation meant employers had to meet the needs of the newly empowered workforce, or else they’d lose out on top talent.

Many employers introduced fertility benefits to offer the mental, emotional, and physical support employees demanded:

  • From 2015 to 2021, the number of employers with more than 500 employees covering in vitro fertilization (IVF) jumped from 24% to 36%.
  • Of the respondents with 500 or more employees not currently offering fertility benefits, 37% say that employees have requested them, and 18% say they are now considering adding IVF coverage.
  • For very large companies with 20,000 or more employees, 42% currently provide IVF support, compared with 26% in 2015.

These trends show that fertility benefits have increased even during other uncertain times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. While concerns are growing, and some employers are still making abrupt decisions to reduce benefits, like cutting parental leave, it’s important to remind your clients that benefits like these are still crucial for employee well-being. And since the talent war is still ongoing in some sectors, they’re critical for recruitment and retention, as well. For example, thousands of jobs have been created since August 2022, continuing a strong streak of employment growth even amidst rising inflation rates.

Some companies are taking advantage of this growth and expanding their parental leave policies. A recent Mercer survey found that 70% of companies with 500 or more employees planned to offer paid parental leave in 2023. Many also said that if faced with an economic downturn, they would be more likely to cut other benefits first, such as 401(k) matches.

Benefits that are essential to families, like parental leave and fertility benefits, are still worth investing in. Instead of hastily scaling back benefits due to short-term concerns, your clients have the opportunity to show that they support employees with core benefits even when economic conditions are less than ideal.

Your clients are committed to DEI

Outside of recruitment and retention, another reason your clients were first interested in fertility benefits was likely a desire to create an inclusive environment for their employees. According to a Glassdoor survey, 67% of job seekers consider a diverse workplace an important factor when deciding to accept a position. In response, employers have taken diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives more seriously than ever. For example, in 2020, Chief Diversity Officer positions grew 16.2% over the prior year.

And once your client has committed to DEI, they can’t turn back. Fertility benefits demonstrate that equity is a priority. Members of the LGBTQ+ community face discrimination in healthcare, and Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) individuals can also experience harm without access to equitable and culturally competent care. Fertility benefits are one powerful way your clients can commit to their promises — something employees still expect, even during uncertain times.

It’s also worth noting that studies find that companies with diverse workforces and management are more profitable. For example, a 2015 study found that diverse companies experience 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. When your clients prioritize diversity, they can also qualify for recognition, like the HRC Corporate Equality Index, which ranks companies based on their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.

At Carrot, we embed inclusion into our services. We vet all partners for LGBTQ+ inclusivity and offer a BIPOC provider network. We also provide age-inclusive fertility benefits through support for Menopause and Low T, as well as promoting financial equity through our Carrot Card, which would allow your client's employees to avoid spending money upfront and having to wait for reimbursements. 

Overall, Carrot focuses on supporting a variety of family-forming journeys to allow all people –– regardless of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or geography, to start their families.

Cutting or postponing these benefits can alienate employees of different backgrounds and even cause your clients to lose diverse employees to companies willing to prioritize their needs.

Fertility benefits are more affordable than you may think

You might assume that fertility benefits are a costly investment. Still, you may be surprised to learn that they can actually fit into your client’s budgets easily and even lower their healthcare costs. We mentioned earlier that more and more companies are offering support for IVF, which is an essential offering. According to the latest Mercer Survey on Fertility Benefits, 97% of respondents say that providing infertility coverage has not significantly increased medical plan costs.

It’s also important to note that the proper fertility benefit won’t fast-track members to IVF. At Carrot, we believe in care navigation, guided by science and medical best practices, that directs members toward less invasive and proactive options, including fertility testing or ovulation tracking.

These interventions are critical to a well-designed fertility benefit that can save money and help your clients offer the most diverse and supportive options. And fertility benefits are flexible, so if your clients are still hesitant, you can emphasize how they can start with a smaller financial offering and increase the benefit over time.

Family-forming benefits are a newer trend, which could mean they’re among the first benefits considered during cost-cutting measures. But your clients need to know how they are still a must-have regardless of what is to come and are only gaining momentum. For recruitment and retention purposes, as a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and because they don’t cost as much as you may think, fertility benefits are still essential for your clients.

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