By Peter Nieves
Dramatic shifts in family-building benefits place brokers in a prime position to deliver custom packages to their most influential client base. Employers have never been more competitive in their need to attract and retain top talent, offering inclusive benefits that are tailored to meet the needs of today’s evolving millennial workforce. Here are three top trends in family-building benefits that insurance brokers should know.
- Clinical advocacy and support. A benefit that offers personalized advocacy and emotional support for the patient and partner going through the family-building journey is essential. Fertility benefit management companies can offer an experience that is tailored to the employee’s individual needs. This includes matching patients to the most appropriate doctor, which is particularly important when a patient has certain medical conditions, such as endometriosis, male factor infertility or combined auto-immune diseases that may impede pregnancy.
Personalized advocacy also includes much-needed support in understanding medical procedures. If clients have access to a managed fertility benefit, individuals will be able to connect with clinical professionals or fertility nurse care managers who can help them navigate every step of their family-building journey. In addition, clients may want access to behavioral health care specialists who will guide them through the emotional components of the journey. It is important for employees to take advantage of these services, as they will make the often-stressful family-building journey much easier to navigate and make optimal use of available benefit dollars.
2. Technology-enabled care. The skillful use of data and technology is increasingly important for improving outcomes and enhancing patient experience. Tech-enabled benefits offer a more personalized and precise experience for employees. Services such as video consultations that connect patients with fertility nurse care managers enhance the trust that is built between nurse and patient, improving the relationship. This, in turn, promotes greater information sharing and patient education, ultimately leading to better decisions and outcomes.
Other types of technologies include ovulation-tracking apps, fertility-tracking wearables, and tools that aid in matching providers with patient needs and preferences. In addition, leading benefit management platforms are developing solutions that streamline the use of data and simplify the backend experience for employers, making claims processing fast and simple for the end user and plan sponsor. These types of solutions are the technology backbone of digital accumulator and claims tracking features.
3. Inclusive benefits. Companies are migrating to a broader benefit offering that includes a single lifetime benefit maximum covering a larger variety of services, in an effort to accommodate a more diverse portion of the employee population.
For example, if a same-sex couple wants to have a child in order to build their family, a $30,000 fertility benefit will not be helpful. This is because they would be ineligible under the definition of infertility, which is defined as not being able to get pregnant or carry a child to term after 12 months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. This definition assumes a heterosexual relationship and is used by many insurance companies to decide when a benefit is covered. However, a benefit that also covers adoption and surrogacy under a single “family-building benefit” would be helpful to this couple.
Every family-building journey is unique and complex, and companies are increasingly recognizing employee demands to offer greater benefits related to family-building with higher lifetime maximums ($50,000-$100,000). The opportunity to offer an inclusive single limit that may include fertility preservation, fertility treatments, medications, egg and sperm freezing as well as adoption and surrogacy, is now perceived as a progressive and fair offering to all employees to build their families.
Peter Nieves is chief commercial officer at WINFertility. Peter may be contacted at [email protected].
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