Like many business challenges today, building the right family benefits solution for your company can take many different forms. Among the bigger questions: should you look for a comprehensive family benefits solution that combines multiple benefits (preconception, fertility, maternity, family care, and menopause) from one vendor? Or, should you use specialized point solutions from a number of different vendors to create a suite of options for your employees?
Of course, the answer often depends on your company’s unique situation (e.g., number of employees, budget, geographic locations). Still, you might want to consider a few of the following perspectives as you identify the right solution for your company.
Who offers family benefits for employers?
In today’s benefits landscape, you won’t have a problem finding companies specializing in family benefits. In recent years, family benefits took off as companies looked to find ways to care for their teams, attract new talent, and make their benefits packages cost-effective and efficient.
As a result, employers can now choose from a wide array of family benefits solutions. As of 2021, Rock Health counted the following:
- 16 digital health vendors that focus on fertility support
- 27 that offer pregnancy, postpartum, and parenthood support
- Six that offer perimenopause and menopause care
These more targeted solutions are often referred to as “point solutions.” Employers can choose to offer one or more of these point solutions, each addressing a different area of family benefits.
In a more recent trend, however, a smaller number of vendors, such as Maven Clinic, offer the full range of benefits listed above in one unified solution. These are often referred to as “comprehensive benefits solutions.” Although the comprehensive solution contains a wide range of benefits supporting different stages of the family journey, employers can choose to offer as many or as few as they please.
What is a point solution for family benefits?
Point solutions can cover certain gaps in care left by the traditional healthcare system (e.g., fertility, maternity). They ultimately provide care at a specific period in your employees’ life until they don’t need that type of support anymore. For example, a fertility point solution helps employees pursue fertility treatments, but then wouldn’t support them through the resulting pregnancy and parenthood. Another point solution could then offer pregnancy support, but that coverage would be delivered by a different vendor that offers its solutions using its own provider networks, technologies, and processes. Employers can add as many point solutions as they see fit.
The pros of point solutions
Point solutions allow you to select what you believe are the best individual products on the market. You may feel, for example, that a company focsed solely on menopause care provides the best menopause coverage when compared to companies that provide multiple products for multiple stages of the family journey. With point solutions, you can adopt a “best-of-all-worlds'' approach.
Piecing together several point solutions makes it possible to customize your family benefits offering for your employees. If you feel comprehensive solutions limit your options, mixing and matching various point solutions allows you to create a complete solution more tailored to what you prefer.
The cons of point solutions
Probably the most significant drawback for point solutions. While multiple point solutions provide best-of-breed care options, each solution is essentially a silo. That means data capture in one solution isn’t necessarily shared across other vendors, unless you’re able to create custom integrations. Employers and providers may also have difficulty getting a 360-degree view of employee health data. All this can lead to data discrepancies across family benefits products, which has serious implications for employees. They often have a more difficult time using their benefits, which leads to lower overall engagement and poorer outcomes. Those poorer outcomes negatively affect employee productivity and attendance.
Poor employee experience
As we discussed above, each point solution likely utilizes its own network of providers and/or care teams. As employees progress from fertility treatments to pregnancy, for example, they’ll need to move from one vendor platform (technology and providers) to another completely different solution. Information sharing may be delayed and processes may be more complex., which contributes to the lower engagement rates and poorer outcomes discussed above
Managing one vendor is much easier than managing multiple vendors. Rather than dealing with one account team from your vendor, you’ll need to manage multiple account teams. That means more communication, more meetings, and more overall administration. You’ll also need to manage multiple processes from each vendor to make the employee experience as smooth as possible (as we’ve already discussed, disjointed processes can have negative implications for employee engagement and outcomes). In addition, it becomes more complex for your finance team, as well, who now have to manage multiple invoices. Updates to products also can happen on different schedules and, depending on the growth of each point solution, overlaps could develop.
The set up costs of individual point solutions are often lower than comprehensive solutions, but once you begin adding multiple point solutions, those savings may disappear. Longer term, the costs get even trickier. Companies that use multiple individual solutions often see lower ROI over time, largely because of poor clinical outcomes. The Commonwealth Fund study found that a person with a chronic condition (such as hypertension or diabetes) is 13% more likely to go to the emergency department when they use fragmented healthcare benefits, driving up healthcare costs for the employee and their employer. A recent HealthAdvocate survey found that 40% of HR leaders surveyed cited a lack of utilization as another primary pain point when using multiple benefits solutions. When employees don’t; use their benefits, employers pay for it in several ways: Not only are they spending on something that never gets used, but a lack of utilization leads to lower productivity and lower attendance, as well.
What is a comprehensive family benefits solution?
Comprehensive solutions cover the complete family journey from preconception and fertility through pregnancy, parenthood, and menopause. Companies that implement a comprehensive solution often use fewer vendors (and sometimes just one), because the solution often provides the majority of support parents and parents-to-be need. With a comprehensive solution, employees stay within the same network as they move through various stages of raising their families.
The pros of comprehensive family benefits
Comprehensive solutions may cost more than point solutions up front but these higher initial costs often pay off in long-term cost reduction. That’s because comprehensive solutions often drive meaningfully improved health outcomes, further reducing long-term costs for employers. Research shows that Maven’s comprehensive family benefits solution reduces C-section rates, ER visits, and NICU admissions, as well as the need to pursue medically unnecessary fertility treatments. C-sections alone cost 50% more than vaginal births, so companies would clearly benefit from the long-term cost reductions found in improving health outcomes.
Single employee view
Companies succeed or fail on their ability to know as much as possible about their customers and their employees. Better data fuels better decisions. In the case of family benefits, employers get a more complete picture of utilization data with a comprehensive solution, because more complete, clean data gets stored in one place. That helps employers make better decisions about the future direction of their benefits programs. It helps employees, too, because with comprehensive solutions, your benefits vendor has access to a much broader range of customer information, allowing them to suggest better care options. And when employees move along their family journey, their data automatically follows them.
Leaders who responded to the HealthAdvocate survey highlighted the engagement advantages of comprehensive solutions. According to the survey, 60% say the biggest advantage of using a single health platform is that it presents each employee with a single point of contact that’s personalized, intuitive, and interactive. That means employees can utilize various benefits at various stages of their lives without having to jump into new apps and processes. Not surprisingly, they use more benefits overall: 40% of respondents to the HealthAdvocate survey say that comprehensive platforms improve employee engagement with benefits.
One point of contact
With fewer vendors comes an overall simpler management process. Most companies today continue to reduce their number of vendors overall simply because managing vendor relationships takes valuable time away from more strategic initiatives. According to a recent Maven report, 80% of respondents said they only work with one to three family benefits vendors. Working with a comprehensive family benefits partner also reduces complexity for financial teams, who likewise spend too much time communicating back and forth with vendors about invoices. Fewer invoices boosts overall productivity.
Working with different vendors creates another set of challenges when it comes to product updates—to policies, technologies, or processes. Different vendors work on different schedules to update their products, meaning employers with many family benefits vendors may find themselves in a constant state of change. With fewer vendors, employers likely have more consistent updates to manage across multiple benefit categories.
The cons of comprehensive family benefits
Flexibility and customization
As we discussed above, while comprehensive solutions theoretically bring together a wide range of specialized benefits, there may still be areas of family benefits that fall outside a vendor’s domain. Some companies may feel that comprehensive benefits reduce the ability to tailor benefits offerings to unique needs.
Potentially larger upfront investment
Because comprehensive family health benefits solutions cover a much wider range of care, upfront costs may be higher than any one point solution. However, over the long term, comprehensive benefits may ultimately prove more cost-effective because of better overall healthcare outcomes and lower costs over time. If you’re concerned about upfront costs of comprehensive solutions, look for a vendor that bills based on utilization—that way, you know you only pay when employees actually use the solution.
Finding a solution that works best for your organization
A recent report from Maven found that companies vastly prefer comprehensive solutions: 80% of HR leaders said that they only work with one to three family benefits vendors. Focusing on one or two comprehensive solutions that drive sustained engagement makes a substantial impact on long-term costs and ROI and eases the administrative burden on HR teams.
As you look to provide high-quality, cost-effective family support to your employees, Maven is here to help. Our comprehensive digital family health platform provides your employees with unlimited access to high-quality care for all their family health needs, including fertility and family building, maternity and postpartum, parenting and pediatrics, and menopause and ongoing care.
Maven’s comprehensive family benefits solution, for example, reduces C-section rates, ER visits, and NICU admissions, as well as the need to pursue medically unnecessary fertility treatments. To learn more about how to make smart investments in your family benefits, request a demo of Maven today.
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