Traditional healthcare systems aren’t built to support LGBTQIA+ people and their families. From antiquated laws around adoption to stigma around different pathways to parenthood, LGBTQIA+ people on their family journey are at an increased risk for discrimination and a lack of clarity and empathy from providers.
Inclusive family benefits are crucial for LGBTQIA+ employees, and employers who invest in these benefits provide outsized positive results while reducing fertility and pregnancy-related healthcare costs. When companies don’t invest in inclusive family care for their employees, they risk worse health outcomes, lower rates of retention and loyalty, and lower return-to-work rates.
Maven’s latest report, The State of Family Health Benefits, found that there’s a disconnect between what employees need and what employers offer. We surveyed 300+ HR benefits decision-makers and over 1,000 full-time employees starting or raising families to discover where employers can make a difference in their LGBTQIA+ employees’ lives.
How employers can support LBGTQIA+ employees on their family journey
67% of LGBTQIA+ employees are expanding or planning to expand their families
Because it’s harder for the LGBTQIA+ workforce to get their needs met in the traditional healthcare system, it’s up to employers to develop a more progressive approach to supporting this community. With a majority of LGBTQIA+ employees surveyed actively expanding or planning to expand their families, it’s clear that a more inclusive approach based on empowering employees with accessible support and information must be an integral part of any benefits offering.
And while employers feel confident that their benefits are enough for their employees, with 84% saying their family-building benefits support employees well or extremely well, employees aren’t feeling that support. 60% of employees overall and 25% of LGBTQIA+ employees have left or considered leaving a job because of inadequate family benefits.
Even if employers think they’re inclusive, most family-building benefits fall short for LGBTQIA+ employees
The nuances of the spectrums of gender and sexuality have become a part of the mainstream cultural conversation and there has been significant investment in creating an inclusive culture for LGBTQIA+ employees. Unfortunately, while many employers are starting to take steps to support LGBTQIA+ employees, most family-building benefits don’t support their pathways to parenthood.
While 72% of large companies rate their benefits as all-inclusive, only 27% of employers cover preconception care and just 29% cover fertility benefits, denying LGBTQIA+ individuals access to the support they need for fertility, adoption, and surrogacy. For example, fertility benefits that required a medical diagnosis of infertility to qualify entirely exclude aspiring LGBTQIA+ parents.
Benefits need to span the entire family journey:
- 36% of LGBTQIA+ employees wish their company offered reimbursement for fertility expenses.
- 60% of LGBTQIA+ people planning their families expect to use assisted reproductive technology, foster care or adoption to become parents.
- Under 20% of employers offering fertility coverage also offer coverage for foster care assistance or adoptions, which can cost up to $50K per child.
The evolving LGBTQIA+ workforce may seem like a challenge to creating comprehensive family-building benefits, but the multifaceted nature of this community is actually its strength. Family-building efforts that are inclusive of LGBTQIA+ employees are inherently intersectional of each employee’s unique identities and experiences, ensuring that all employees receive the whole-person care necessary for them to thrive.
LGBTQIA+ issues affect teams at large, not just individuals
LGBTQIA+ issues aren’t siloed inside their community—their impact can determine company culture more broadly. Even outside of the 20 million adults who identify as LGBTQIA+, millennial and Gen Z employees are looking for companies that offer inclusive family-building care that improves diversity, equity, and inclusion for everyone.
A majority of straight and/or cisgendered employees under 35 are passionate about inclusion and will advocate for their LGBTQIA+ coworkers. Compared with previous generations, straight employees under 35 are 3.6 times more likely to join ally programs and 3 times more likely to find value in LGBTQIA+ colleagues being out and bringing their whole selves to work. 80% of millennials believe inclusion is important when choosing an employer, and 54% say they would feel more loyal to their employer if they extended fertility benefits to LGBTQIA+ employees.
How employers can support LGBTQIA+ employees with family health benefits
For LGBTQIA+ people on their family-building journey, the challenges are complex and difficult in a variety of physical, emotional, and financial ways. That’s why employer support is so critical in order to help members of this community thrive throughout this continuous phase of life.
But how can employers ensure they’re filling the gaps in the healthcare system for LGBTQIA+ employees? The first step is making sure they know what challenges they need help overcoming.
The survey revealed that employees are looking for benefits that span:
- Adoption or surrogacy
- Preconception and family planning care
- Caregiver leave
- Virtual family care
Employees are looking for continuous and personalized support throughout the family-building journey, rather than just for specific moments. By providing comprehensive support that covers every pathway to and through parenthood, employers can drive employee loyalty, increase retention, and improve health outcomes.
Developing an inclusive family-benefits offering with Maven
Throughout every stage of the family-building journey, LGBTQIA+ employees are being left behind when only offered traditional family health benefits. Employers have the ability to change their employees’ lives for the better by offering a comprehensive benefits package that continuously supports employees on any pathway to parenthood.
Maven Clinic is the complete digital family health platform for leaders seeking to provide more inclusive, cost-effective care for LGBTQIA+ employees as they start, grow, and care for their families. With individualized care navigation and personalized care teams, Maven delivers the right support at the right time from preconception to fertility, to adoption and surrogacy, to parenthood. To learn more, download the full State of Family Health Benefits report or schedule a demo with Maven today.
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