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Life Health > Health Insurance

Fertility Benefits for Finance Sector Clients

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What You Need to Know

  • Financial firms depend heavily on young, well-paid professionals who may be thinking about having children.
  • Rich ferility benefits packages are still relatively uncommon.
  • Active fertility benefits management may help control overall benefits costs.

To attract the most qualified employees, firms throughout the financial services industry, from private equity to venture capital, are offering robust family-building benefits. The reason is clear: Few other industries place such critical reliance on employees who are in the years of planning for and raising children.

In the financial sector, a high percentage of staff are millennials or Generation Zers, born after 1981. For this age cohort, a major job-selection determinant is whether the employer offers attractive benefits. Financial and workplace support for family-building needs are especially prized, and are thus essential for attracting, retaining and maximizing productivity during these employees’ years of planning for and raising children.

The sector has been quick to understand that a managed fertility benefit — a program that provides financial reimbursement plus clinical oversight, education and counseling for family-building options — is the fiscally sound way to attract and support employees, build loyalty, and cut the cost of disruptive staff turnover. Offering these benefits can help your private equity and venture capital benefits clients live happier lives away from the office, and stay ahead of the curve in an unprecedented time of job-hopping.

Employer Demographics

The family-building years are challenging for employees. They often conflict with the need for longer work hours and career dedication at the same stage of life. This can hold especially true for employees of financial institutions.

Women outnumber men in the U.S. finance and insurance sector by a 4-to-3 ratio. More than their male counterparts, women who receive infertility treatment bear the burden of balancing their work hours and family planning. In addition, women in their 20s and 30s often make up the backbone of a financial firm’s workforce. These are the most likely employees in any company to take advantage of egg-freezing benefits, or to desire such a benefit to keep pace with their peers.

Moreover, an inclusive family-building program helps employees vigorously pursue their careers, and signals that they can plan for a future family with their employer’s support. A managed fertility benefit with emphasis on egg-freezing and surrogacy can alleviate at least some of the burdens associated with work-life balance.

A Competitive Edge

Employees value fertility benefits because traditional employer-sponsored health plans typically limit reproductive coverage to maternity and pediatric services. Offering workplace flexibility and work-life balance conducive to family life improves employee morale and productivity, and makes employers more attractive to job-seekers.

With a managed fertility benefit, the expense of reimbursement for non-covered family-building services can be well controlled. And given the cost and disruption that comes from losing top talent, not offering a managed fertility benefit may cost even more.

Fertility benefits help cover costs of $15,000 to $30,000 per in vitro fertilization cycle, and more for adoption or surrogacy. Equally important are the savings the employer realizes, as the managed benefit increases the intended parents’ health and productivity through behavioral counseling, and provides professional guidance that frees up hours employees otherwise spend researching fertility options.

Similarly, some women may consider egg-freezing to reduce the risk of deferring the start of their family during the early years of their career. Covering egg-freezing costs — typically about $8,000 to $10,000, plus medication and storage — is far less expensive than losing a rising star executive to a competitor that offers a fertility benefit.

The Case for Managing Fertility Benefits

In an unmanaged fertility benefit, employees essentially receive a pool of money to use as they see fit. Employees navigate their own path through a complicated fertility environment and make their own spending decisions. Costs are then reimbursed up to a specified per-event or lifetime limit. Unmanaged plans cost companies more because they offer employees no guidance and put no guardrails around spending.

A far better option is the surprisingly cost-effective managed benefit. By fully integrating financial support with clinical oversight, education and counseling, a managed benefit can reduce spending for companies, and provide better support and outcomes for employees. The guidance from clinical experts in managed benefits increases the likelihood of healthy, full-term singleton babies. This reduces C-sections, preterm births and neonatal intensive care unit expenses, which research shows can cost a company between $64,000 and $80,000 per employee.

Employees with an unmanaged benefit get no professional assistance navigating their family-building choices. Therefore, they more frequently choose treatments that raise the likelihood of twins, triplets or other multiple gestations. This often leads to NICU admissions and long-term health care costs for developmental problems, asthma or cerebral palsy. This is not only a bad outcome for the parents but also very costly to the employer, whose group health policy will be responsible for the increased utilization.

The bottom line: A managed benefit provides higher success rates with reduced medical costs on several fronts. Coupled with the value-add of improved recruitment, retention and productivity, a managed benefit might even pay for itself.

The Takeaway

Surveys show that family-building benefits are most popular among employees in their 20s and 30s, a group that forms an outsized share of the workforce for financial sector employers. To address the needs of these rising stars and junior partners, and attract and retain this generation of talent, no benefit is more critical than a robust managed fertility program.

Fountain pen (Image: iStock)Dr. Roger Shedlin, J.D., is the president, CEO and founder of WINFertility, a global fertility benefits management company.


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