A convergence of several megatrends has cast a spotlight on the need for employers to be more strategic about recruitment and retention of top talent. One answer is through more robust and personalized benefit packages that are accessible and affordable.

A tightening U.S. labor market continues to challenge HR departments and C-Suites alike. Mounting frustration over pandemic lockdowns expedited the retirement of Baby Boomers and sidelined working mothers. Before long, historically high quit rates sparked the Great Resignation and a serious revolt against the 9-to-5 corporate mindset. Millions of working Americans left behind dead-end jobs and toxic workplaces for greener pastures.

They also increasingly identified a caring culture, flexible work schedules, better benefits, and higher pay as top priorities. At the same time, a deepening desire for personalization crept into the design of employee benefit plans. With four generations now part of many workplaces, employers learned that one size no longer fits all. Finally, the push for diversity, equity, and inclusion programs (DEI) and health equity has alerted the nation to alarming and gaping gaps in care.

These developments are reshaping traditional employment contracts to now include the often-overlooked area of family-forming programs that transcend long-accepted definitions of both family and employee benefits. The family unit has undergone a sea change. Two-parent households, for instance, include same-sex partners, while single parenthood is no longer stigmatized. A growing number of working women also decided to become parents later in life with the help of fertility treatments, adoption, or surrogacy. In some cases, they’re doing it without a partner. Many men, including those in the gay community, have followed suit.

Inclusive Family-Forming Solutions

Parents and families now come in all shapes and sizes, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The desire to have children transcends all backgrounds, whether someone is partnered up, single, straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, nonbinary, or otherwise. Today, there are diverse options for building LGBTQ+ families, including assisted reproductive technology (ART). With fertility treatments and ART, the dream of parenthood is achievable for everyone.

Their options for comprehensive fertility benefits includes anything from home testing, genetic screening and pre-pregnancy counseling to donor sperm, eggs and embryos, in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg freezing, surrogacy and adoption. Along a jagged landscape where roughly one in six people face fertility challenges, however, affordability and accessibility in reproductive healthcare have never been more critical. Rising out-of-pocket expenses for health insurance has restricted the size of the typical nuclear family for lower-paid and middle-class employees.

But affordable solutions are at hand. HR departments play a major role in helping deliver family-forming solutions that meet the budget and lifestyle of diverse employee populations.

Key Strategies for Affordable Fertility Care

Understanding the financial strain that inadequate coverage places on employees, we have incorporated five key strategies into our programs. Consider the following:

  1. Evidence-based care. At the core of any meaningful program is the need to link individuals with top-tier doctors who provide evidence-based care, prioritizing quality over quantity to deliver superior treatment at a reduced cost. This avoids waste and achieves better outcomes more quickly with more efficient use of healthcare resources.
  • Waste reduction. Unproven treatments are excluded, preventing miscoding of fertility care and securing discounts from providers. This reduction in waste directly translates into lower overall costs for fertility benefits.
  1. Low-access fee. Employees gain unlimited access to a digital program and one-on-one concierge navigation. This informed approach empowers individuals to make crucial reproductive health decisions, potentially reducing the need for costly medical interventions.
  2. No PEPM. Employers only pay when services are utilized, with flexibility to choose a benefit subsidy that aligns with their budget, without incurring fixed per-employee-per-month costs. A range of financing options can be tailored to health plan members to include discounted multi-cycle IVF treatment packages and reduced costs on fertility medications.
  3. Value-added programs. Employers have an opportunity to go beyond table stakes. The best way to do that is by offering optional programs that enhance overall value. These efforts include direct-to-consumer lending for cost-sharing with employees and competitively priced pharmacy plans, as well as comprehensive support programs covering pregnancy, lactation, early parenthood and return-to-work initiatives.

One important postscript worth mentioning is that it’s not enough just to provide affordable fertility treatment options, but also comprehensive logistical and emotional support to help employees and their families navigate the complex journey of family-building. For example, dedicated concierge care navigators can discuss programs, financing and logistics, as well as assist in finding a local clinic with successful outcomes.

These robust and personalized benefits aren’t only about redefining family-forming benefits. They’re about transforming lives, one family at a time.

David Adamson, M.D., Founder, Chairman and CEO at ARC Fertility, the largest United States network fertility company. He has been recognized as one of the best 400 physicians for women in America and received the Outstanding Achievement in Medicine award from the Santa Clara County Medical Society, a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for contributions to the community, Distinguished Surgeon award from the Society of Reproductive Surgeons, Honorary Life Membership from the Canadian Association of Internes and Residents, the Barbara Eck Founders Award from RESOLVE, several honorary memberships and professorships, and the ASRM Distinguished Service award for his outstanding achievements in advancing the practice of reproductive medicine.

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