The world of work is going through seismic shifts, and it shows no signs of slowing down. But change isn’t new for people leaders. They’ve had to figure out innovative ways to attract and retain talent in tight labor markets, manage rising healthcare costs, build a hybrid work strategy, and in some cases bring employees back into office—all while continuing to build a collaborative, productive workforce.

In this dynamic environment, HR teams are shifting their strategies by consolidating employee benefits into more comprehensive platforms. They’re providing more holistic support beyond health insurance that cultivates a high-performing, engaged workforce, and helps employees navigate a world moving at a rapid pace of change.

Women in the workforce—especially Gen Z and millennials— are asking for women’s and family healthcare that spans life stages, from fertility and family building to pregnancy support to pediatrics to menopause care.

Offering these employee benefits can lead to healthier, happier employees and families. But the benefits extend beyond that. Employers that prioritize comprehensive women’s and family healthcare see increased engagement, stronger loyalty, reduced administrative burden, lower healthcare costs, and higher ROI on their benefits investments.

The data is showing that doubling down on women’s and family health benefits isn’t just a response to changing times—it’s truly an investment in the future. Here are key insights from our recent webinar, where AT&T, a Maven partner, joined to discuss findings from the Maven’s State of Women’s and Family Health Benefits report. 

Designing benefits amid rising costs

According to SHRM, healthcare costs are estimated to rise 7% this year, outpacing inflation. Maven’s report found that over two-thirds of employees express concerns about rising costs, and some report they will change how they access healthcare because of it. This means that because of this fear, some employees may delay care—or not seek treatment at all when needed.

In response to the rising costs of health insurance, 38% of employers are consolidating benefits vendors, and 32% are removing benefits with low or no adoption. The last decade has seen a proliferation of point solutions trying to tackle the needs of an increasingly diverse and dispersed workforce.

Unfortunately, this has often resulted in increased administrative burden for employers and a fragmented experience for employees, leading to low adoption of benefits. Instead, employers are shifting to more comprehensive solutions that expand their benefits coverage and provide care through the full reproductive health journey.

Others are looking for vendors that provide ROI guarantees or removing benefits that have low or no adoption among employees, demanding a higher standard of outcomes from vendors.

"We're trying to control costs with a real focus on quality and the VOI (value of investment)," said Juli Galloway, Vice President of Global Benefits at AT&T, during the webinar. "We pay attention to the data to guide us and try to streamline and simplify wherever possible. We want to make it as easy as possible for our employees to access the care they need, which ultimately leads to that return on investment or value on investment."

Building holistic, comprehensive employee benefits beyond health insurance

Consolidating benefits does not mean reducing the support available to employees. Comprehensive women's and family health benefits should encompass everything from preconception and fertility through pregnancy, postpartum, parenting, and menopause, with no gaps in care.

"Consolidation is a big trend right now," said Kate Ryder, CEO of Maven. "Employees are looking for more holistic support along their full family and reproductive health journey, with no gaps in care.”

Employees are requesting this level of job benefits from their employers, with surveyed employees reporting the following health and wellness benefits as a top priority:

  • Maternity and parenting support, including paid parental leave
  • Fertility support for men and women
  • Menopause support
  • Mental health support
  • Support for preparing to have a family
  • Childcare support and support for caring for elderly, disabled, or ill family members.

Comprehensive care means looking beyond the basics in each of these categories and expanding beyond what is covered by health insurance. Offering support like reimbursements for fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF), for example, can be a good first step. However, financial support alone overlooks the needs of employees who may want preconception support and are not yet ready for IVF or other intensive interventions, or those who bring home a child and need parenting or childcare support.

Companies that don’t offer this comprehensive, holistic care may risk losing employees to competitors that do.

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

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

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

Creating benefits to meet the unique needs of diverse and dispersed workforces

The changing world of work is affecting employee needs. Maven's report showed that 91% of respondents are required to work in person at least some of the time, which is a drastic shift from a few years ago when much of the working world shifted to fully remote operations. As companies transition their employees back into the office, health and wellness benefits also have to make a shift.

To ease the shift back to in-person work, virtual care can be a powerful tool. 60% of employees say that access to virtual healthcare makes it easier for them to work in person. Partnering with vendors who can augment in-person health coverage by offering on-demand support can help ease employees’ transition into new working norms without compromising the quality of or access to care.

"At AT&T, we have five generations in our workforce. We're very cognizant of where everyone is in their journey and how we can support them," said Galloway. "Virtual care is a big piece of that. It helps us with access and equity as well, because it's much easier to schedule a virtual consultation than to physically drive somewhere and take that time away from work."

The shift to in-person work isn’t the only reason employers are rethinking their benefits. As Gen Z enters the workforce in greater numbers, they’re a catalyst for benefits changes among employers. Even though many of them haven’t started families yet, Gen Z is especially focused on comprehensive care for their full family and reproductive health journey, prioritizing support from preconception through parenting.

If they don’t get that support, they’ll seek opportunities elsewhere. Of all the generations surveyed, Gen Z is the most likely to take a new job or consider doing so based on the reproductive and family health benefits available at their company. Employers can't afford to stick with benefits as usual as this new generation enters the workforce.

Crafting a benefits ecosystem to stand out among competitors

In response to the changes facing their company and their employees, employers are leaning into reproductive and family health benefits to attract and retain employees. 70% of employers say that these benefits are important or very important for attracting employees.

With consolidating benefits top of mind, employers are looking for comprehensive support that covers employees’ full reproductive health journey, with 48% of employers planning to increase the coverage of their family health benefits in the next two to three years.

Leading employers indicate that their top benefits priorities in 2024 are:

  • Mental health support
  • Childcare support and support for caring for elderly, disabled, or ill family members
  • Maternity and parenting support, including paid parental leave
  • Fertility support for men and women
  • Menopause support

"We want to make sure that our employees receive full support along their family journey," said Galloway. "It's not just the three trimesters of pregnancy. It's the support after the baby comes home, when the employee is coming back to work after leave, and beyond. It's important not to have the support lapse."

To stand out among competitors and attract and retain the best talent, employers need to prioritize women's and family health benefits as a key part of their employee benefits package. Beyond health insurance, these employee benefits can make a substantial impact on employees, boosting employee morale and reducing employee turnover.

These employee benefits can make a huge difference in the lives of employees, but they also drive significant ROI for employers as well. 96% of Maven Fertility & Family Building members are more loyal to their employer, and companies who invest in Maven see 2 - 4x clinical and business savings.

Best employee benefits: Looking to the future

Optimizing your benefits ecosystem to meet the needs of the modern workforce can increase employee engagement, drive employee satisfaction, and support the financial health of your organization. But, like the shifting world of work, what makes an ideal benefit can also change, and understanding what the future of benefits holds can help to design company benefits that make an impact far into the future. Maven's predictions for the future of benefits include:

Improving access to fertility care

Demand for fertility treatments is at an all-time high as more people are getting financial support from their companies and people receive more coverage through their health insurance.

Unfortunately, there are not enough fertility clinics or doctors to service this demand in the short and medium term. We predict that the supply and demand equation will buckle, and high-quality access to care will be a key priority for patients and benefit providers alike.

A fight against healthcare misinformation

People are being confronted with misleading information every time they log into social media, which may tell them that egg freezing is a guarantee for fertility preservation, or that they need to start invasive fertility treatments immediately if they’re having trouble conceiving.

"We think a lot about healthcare misinformation at Maven. We aim to coach people and give them access to the correct medical information, so they don't feel nervous about their reproductive health journey too early.

"We think a lot about healthcare misinformation at Maven," said Ryder. "We aim to coach people and give them access to the correct medical information, so they don't feel nervous about their reproductive health journey too early."

Leading employers are going to combat this misinformation with access to more comprehensive managed care, which will help them control costs and provide their employees with the educational resources necessary to avoid misinformation.

Benefits vendors will have to show outcomes

Employers will apply more pressure on vendors to manage outcomes, as budgets and claims projections from some partners have been underestimated and have soared in reality.

Employers don’t just want an employee benefit administrator, they want a partner focused on delivering high-quality care while managing costs. The goal is to align incentives to provide the member the care they actually need, not the care that will make the vendor the most money.

"In a world where healthcare costs are rising 7% this year, you need vendors to show a strong return on investment," said Ryder. "Fertility and maternity can be substantial expenses, and employers have to ensure that the benefits partner you're working with can prove ROI, provide quality care, and improve the member experience."

Expanding beyond health coverage to better women's and family health benefits with Maven

As employers adapt to the changing world of work, they need a benefits partner who can adapt with them. Maven is a women’s and family healthcare company that reaches over 17 million people around the world. Our 24/7 platform provides clinical, emotional, and financial support all in one place. We offer compassionate care at some of the most joyful and vulnerable life stages, from the dads starting their fertility journey, to the postpartum mom returning to work, to the woman navigating menopause. Over 2,000 employers and health plans, including AT&T, partner with Maven to deliver more equitable, higher-quality care.

To learn more about how Maven can make an impact at your organization, see how Maven can show up for your employees or contact us today.

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