ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 23, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The percentage of employers offering fertility benefits to employees is expected to grow from 55% in 2017 to 66% by 2019, according to the 2017 Maternity, Family and Fertility Benefits Survey from global advisory, broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW). Of the employers currently offering fertility benefits, 65% offer coverage for fertility services to same-sex couples — a percentage expected to increase to 81% by 2019.  

“Employers are evolving their health care programs to reflect that fertility benefits are becoming more important to many employees, including same-sex couples,” said Jeff Levin-Scherz, M.D., North American co-leader, health management practice at Willis Towers Watson. “The additional coverage is often a win-win proposition. It allows employers to provide a valued employee benefit while improving their ability to attract and retain top talent and support diversity initiatives.”

The survey also provided additional details on employers’ motivations for offering fertility benefits and ways in which they are encouraging employees to use the coverage most effectively. For example:

  • Of employers offering and enhancing fertility benefits:
    • 71% offer them to support their inclusion and diversity goals and objectives.
    • 59% do so to help recruit and retain top talent.
    • 49% do so to be recognized as a “best place to work.”
    • 49% say it supports the organization as a “woman-friendly workplace.”
       
  • Eighty-two percent of employers offering fertility coverage will continue doing so without changes in 2018; 17% will enhance their offerings, and just 1% will decrease benefits.
     
  • Employers are looking for innovative solutions to personalize fertility benefits. For example, 21% offer an app-based mobile phone fertility or maternity program, with 16% offering it through the health plan and 5% through other vendors.
     
  • Less than one in five employers (18%) require the use of fertility centers of excellence. A smaller number (5%) require the use of these centers for elective single embryo transfer where clinically appropriate for in vitro fertilization.
     
  • About half of employers (51%) offer some adoption benefits with an average benefit of $6,172.

“Supporting employees on their path to parenthood, especially with increasing fertility issues, can be difficult and expensive,” said Lindsey Conon, a senior consultant at Willis Towers Watson. “As a result, fertility and family planning support programs, including adoption benefits, are quickly becoming an essential part of organizations’ Total Rewards package.”

The survey also revealed that despite a recent Trump administration executive order, nearly all employers are planning to keep offering contraceptive coverage. This includes oral and device contraceptives, with 99% of employers not planning changes, and sterilization procedures for men and women, with 99% and 100% of employers, respectively, not planning changes.

About the survey

The Willis Towers Watson Maternity, Family and Fertility Survey was completed in October 2017 by 497 U.S. employers with at least 100 employees. Respondents collectively employ 7 million employees and operate in all major industry sectors.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson serves 40,000 employees in more than 140 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at willistowerswatson.com.

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