Investing in the future: Designing fertility & maternity benefits for healthcare employees

Attracting and retaining skilled employees is crucial to providing stellar patient care. In addition, supporting healthcare employees’ quality of life is of paramount importance as poor wellbeing can impact the quality and safety of patient care.

However, the healthcare sector is seeing unprecedented staffing challenges with the American Hospital Association estimating there will be a shortage of up to 3.2 million healthcare workers by 2026.

In a bid to boost attraction and retention, employee benefits have emerged as a crucial component of any successful HR strategy. As the workforce evolves and inclusion becomes increasingly prioritized, organizations are recognizing the need to go beyond perks and instead provide comprehensive support for employees navigating different stages of life, including family planning and parenthood. These benefits signal a commitment to inclusivity, employee wellbeing, and long-term investment in talent.

Here’s what HR leaders need to know about how fertility and maternity benefits shape workplace culture, foster loyalty, and ultimately drive ROI in the healthcare sector.

The importance of fertility and maternity benefits

Attracting and retaining top talent

Staffing shortages are creating fierce competition within the healthcare sector, and they are being fuelled by a variety of factors. For example, employee satisfaction with pay in healthcare is among the lowest of any industry with only 52% feeling they are paid fairly for the work they do. In addition, levels of employee burnout are high, with 35-54% of nurses and physicians and 45-60% of medical students and residents reporting symptoms. These issues, amongst others, translated to 600,000 healthcare employee resignations per month by May 2023.

For organizations vying for top talent, offering comprehensive fertility and maternity benefits has become a strategic imperative in closing the talent gap. These benefits are a powerful tool for healthcare providers to set themselves apart in an industry where employee stress, anxiety, exhaustion and frustration is high. By providing support for family planning and parenthood, companies not only attract but also retain skilled employees who prioritize work-life balance and well-being. Maven’s recent report found that 57% of employees have taken or might take a new job because they were offered better reproductive and family benefits. Other research indicates that 72% of employees would stay at their current organization longer if offered fertility benefits.

These benefits can also enhance your employee value proposition by demonstrating that your company is progressive, caring, and invested in the holistic development of your workforce. Aside from pay, benefits, greater work-life balance, personal well-being, diversity, and inclusivity are among the top factors that job seekers look for when changing organizations.

Comprehensive fertility and maternity benefits also yield tangible financial benefits for companies. Reduced turnover and heightened employee satisfaction translate to significant cost savings in recruitment and training. Family benefits like Maven show up to a 2x clinical ROI and 4x business ROI.

Supporting diversity and inclusion

Inclusivity and diversity are cornerstones of a thriving workplace culture and delivering a quality care service to the population yet there are disparities in representation across gender, ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic status.  

In 2020, the US healthcare workforce reportedly comprised more than 50% White, approximately 20% Asian, 7% Black, and less than 1% Hispanic and Native American employees. Two-thirds of physicians are men; however, this is shifting as more women enter medical schools.

There are numerous benefits to prioritizing diversity and inclusion. Not only are patient outcomes improved but so are communication, innovation, and risk assessments. Moreover, diverse healthcare organizations see elevated financial performance. Ultimately, prioritizing diversity and inclusion in the workplace leads to healthier patients, happier employees, and higher profitability.

By offering tailored fertility and maternity support for employees of different backgrounds and at different life stages, healthcare companies demonstrate their commitment to accommodating the diverse needs and perspectives of their staff. This inclusivity extends beyond gender considerations to encompass individuals from various demographics and family structures facing unique challenges. For example:

Maven’s State of Women’s and Family Health Benefits 2024

How fertility, maternal health, and Gen Z are transforming benefits decisions.

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Maven’s State of Women’s and Family Health Benefits 2024

Designing comprehensive fertility and maternity benefits for the healthcare industry

When designing and implementing fertility and maternity benefits for healthcare employees, you should take a holistic approach that supports overall employee well-being including social, emotional, physical, and financial factors. In addition, benefits should meet the needs of employees at different stages from family planning to postpartum and beyond. 

Preconception care 

Preconception care is personalized, preventative care that helps employees increase their chance of having a baby. This care should begin at least three months before trying to conceive so that any interventions have time to have a positive impact. Examples of preconception care include smoking cessation support, dietary advice, and hormone tests.

86% of women—even if they work in healthcare—are not getting preconception care from their family physician or OB-GYN. Barriers to adequate preconception care include a lack of awareness, costs, time constraints, and limited access to resources. As a result, some people seek unnecessary fertility care while others experience adverse pregnancy outcomes such as premature birth and low birth weight.

As an employer, you can support your employees’ preconception care by providing on-demand access to specialist, personalized support. Our findings indicate that 30% of Maven members who received preconception care achieved pregnancy without assisted reproductive technology like IVF, leading to significant cost savings for both employers and employees.

Fertility treatment coverage

Fertility treatments offer a chance at parenthood for many who may not otherwise be able to have a biological child; however, the cost creates a significant barrier for many. For example, the cost of one full IVF cycle can be between $15,000 and $30,000.

Employers have recognized the need to support their workforce on their family-building journeys, and more healthcare employers are offering fertility coverage. A recent Maven report found that 37% of global employers now provide fertility support for women and men, including access to specialists and a vetted network of clinics, virtual coaching, assisted reproductive treatment, and expense management for fertility care. 

This shift has been overwhelmingly positive. 97% of employers have not encountered any significant increases in medical plan costs by offering this coverage, but have seen business benefits including more loyal and committed employees, higher workforce morale, and an improved ability to attract top talent.

Maternity and parental leave

Robust paid maternity and parental leave policies are a critical component of comprehensive fertility and maternity benefits. 82% of Americans feel mothers should have paid maternity leave, while 69% support paid paternity leave.

Recognizing the diverse paths to parenthood, inclusive policies must also encompass support for adoption and surrogacy, as well as foster parents.

Aside from time to bond with and care for a new child, the benefits of paid leave for employees are numerous, including lower chances of postpartum depression, increased breastfeeding rates, and reduced hospital admissions. In the long run, paid leave leads to improved employee morale, improved retention, and more women in the workplace.

Maternity and return to work support

During pregnancy and in the months after welcoming a newborn, parents are often navigating many physical, emotional and logistical changes. Personal care needs, getting enough sleep, breastfeeding discomfort, and post-delivery C-section pain are among some of the challenges that individuals face. Employers can support their employees at this time of their lives by providing access to educational resources and specialists including OB-GYNs, doulas, lactation consultants, sleep coaches, and midwives.

When the time comes for employees to return to work after parental leave, flexible work arrangements and gradual return-to-work options are invaluable for new parents navigating the delicate balance between career and family responsibilities. 93% of healthcare workers say that they struggle to find suitable childcare that fits with their work schedule, and 94% of employees feel that workplace flexibility would help them to be better parents.  

These accommodations empower employees to tailor their schedules to suit their evolving needs, promoting a healthy work-life balance and reducing stress during the postpartum period.

Additional supportive benefits

There are other ways that you can support employees throughout their family-building journeys. Many modern fertility and family-building companies like Maven will provide holistic, comprehensive support for employees, including: 

  • Comprehensive coverage for prenatal care, postpartum support, and lactation services ensures that parents receive essential medical care and guidance throughout their journey.
  • Offering access to fertility counseling, adoption assistance, and surrogacy support address the diverse needs of employees pursuing various paths to parenthood.
  • Education and peer communities provide valuable resources and support networks for expectant and new parents, fostering a sense of community and belonging.
  • Resources for employee resource groups or mentorship programs for new parents, helping employees navigate the challenges of parenthood while maintaining their professional growth in the healthcare field and contributing to a more equitable workplace.

Managing costs and maximizing ROI

For fertility and maternity benefits to be effective for both healthcare employers and employees, it’s important to regularly use key metrics, such as benefit uptake, to assess success. In addition, implementing cost-effective benefit management strategies ensures you stay within budget and can accurately monitor benefit ROI.

Cost-effective strategies

Partnering with vendors who have a network of fertility clinics and don't charge a markup is a smart approach to managing costs while ensuring comprehensive fertility and maternity benefits. By leveraging the vendor’s existing networks, you can provide high-quality care for your employees at competitive rates, maximizing the value of your benefit investments.

Additionally, prioritizing preconception care can yield significant cost savings by helping employees avoid expensive fertility treatments like IVF/IUI that would result in higher costs for them and your business. For instance, 30% of Maven Fertility members achieve pregnancy without the need for assistance, underscoring the benefit of proactive care.

Moreover, there is the long-term cost savings and increased profitability that arise from improved employee retention and higher engagement.

Measuring success and ROI

Regularly evaluating and adjusting benefits based on utilization and feedback is essential for optimizing ROI. Metrics such as employee satisfaction, retention rates, and healthcare cost savings provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of fertility and maternity benefits. Tracking and analyzing data will enable you to refine your benefits offering to better meet the evolving needs of your workforce.

Feedback fueling growth: The Cozen O’Connor case study

Maven’s Cozen O’Connor case study demonstrates the power of comprehensive fertility and maternity care. From employee feedback, it became clear that Cozen O’Connor employees were not receiving comprehensive answers to their questions regarding the process of receiving fertility treatment and the coverage for it. This was having an adverse impact on what is already an emotionally challenging journey.

Cozen O’Connor wanted to simplify the experience for employees who were seeking financial support for fertility. They found the ideal solution in Maven Managed Benefit. Employees now receive concierge-level support through a Maven care team to understand the family-building benefits available to them. They also have access to the highest quality clinics through Maven’s Performance Network and can see all upcoming costs and their benefit balance within the Maven app.

Since incorporating Maven Managed Benefit into their plan, 56% of their employees in the Fertility & Family Building program have signed up for financial support through Maven Managed Benefit. 70% of reimbursements have covered fertility treatments and 30% have covered egg freezing services. Further, Cozen O’Connor has received positive feedback from their employees and Maven has received a nearly perfect provider satisfaction score of 4.99 out of 5.

Fertility & maternity benefits for healthcare employees from Maven

Recruitment and employee loyalty within the healthcare sector are ongoing challenges that employers face. Benefits packages are a key strategy in setting your organization apart from others in the industry, attracting top talent, and fostering a committed and productive workforce that delivers excellent standards of care for patients.

However, the benefits you offer must go beyond the basics and instead support the overall well-being and work-life balance of your employees at all stages of their lives. Fertility and maternity benefits can do this through a comprehensive, holistic approach that assists and empowers employees through preconception, trying to conceive, pregnancy, parenthood, and beyond, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

Partnering with a specialized provider like Maven ensures your employees receive the best quality of care while also helping you to efficiently manage your benefits costs and see a positive return on your investment. 96% of members are more loyal to employers because they implemented Maven and 83% of members reported being more productive at work during fertility treatment from having Maven’s support.

If you are ready to join the healthcare employers already experiencing better outcomes for all, book a demo to get started.

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