Married for over seven years, Jarrick and Michelle Tilby have been unable to conceive a child. That’s why when Jarrick’s employer Domo unveiled a program to offer employees fertility benefits, they immediately called to set up an appointment.
“Growing our family is quite frankly the most important thing in our lives,” Tilby acknowledges. Having tried the fertility drug Clomid to no avail, the couple was saving up to pay for in-vitro fertilization. “The new Domo benefit meant we could move ahead,” he says.
A Utah-based company, Domo provides clients with a cloud-based data analytics services. Founded in 2010, it has more than 800 employees with an average age of 34, about 20% of which are women.
The recently-added fertility benefit gives employees a lifetime sum of $40,000 to spend on fertility services, says Cathy Donahoe, Domo’s vice-president of human resources. She estimates that is usually sufficient to pay for two full in-vitro fertilization cycles.
To offer the benefit, Domo contracts directly with Progyny, a full-service, end-to-end fertility service headquartered in New York City. In addition to settling employee claims, clients typically pay a monthly fee per eligible employee. Services include family planning, doctor visits, medication, egg and sperm freezing and some assistance with adoption and surrogacy.
Progyny’s offerings are several cuts above traditional infertility insurance, which provides a dollar benefit but does nothing to help employees determine what services they need or how best to make use of those dollars, maintains Karin Ajmani, Progyny’s president for healthcare services. “We provide six or eight outbound outreaches to members, and we constantly track them through their treatment until they have a successful pregnancy test,” she explains.
From a pricing standpoint, Progyny bundles the most important IVF services into a single package, freeing patients and their physicians to make medically-driven, as opposed to financially-driven, decisions. “We fast-track members to the procedures most likely to result in a pregnancy,” says Progyny CEO David Schlanger.
This bundling strategy also makes it less like that the patient will opt to implant more than one embryo to increase the odds of a successful pregnancy. “This is very compelling for employers,” Schlanger says, since multiple births mean higher medical expenses, extended hospital stays and longer maternity absences.
The company’s data suggests this strategy is working. Whereas the national average pregnancy rate per IVF transfer is 49%, for Progyny patients it is 59%. And at 7%, Progyny patients’ twinning rate is significantly lower than the national average of 27%.
The Tilbys have certainly been impressed with the service. While still early in the process, they appreciated that Progyny allowed them to use the fertility clinic near their home in Utah, even though it wasn’t on the fertility company’s list of approved treatment centers.
Generous fertility benefits are not the only family-friendly benefits that Domo offers its workforce. The analytics firm pays 95% of its employees’ healthcare premiums and 100% of their life, short-term and long-term disability insurance coverage. And along with three months of paid maternity leave and two weeks of paid paternity leave, employees also receive a $1,000 baby bonus on the birth of each child. There is also what’s known as the “Haute Mama” stipend, which awards pregnant employees $2,000 toward a maternity wardrobe makeover.
Adding fertility benefits to this mix gives Domo a potent new weapon for waging the talent wars. “Salt Lake City and the surrounding area are known as the ‘Silicon Slopes,’ and we recruit many employees from Silicon Valley,” Donahoe notes. “As a result, we map our benefit plans to what other hot tech companies are offering.”
For prospective employees, infertility coverage is a strong enticement. According to “Infertility in America,” a 2015 survey conducted by the Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, more than two-thirds of respondents were willing to change jobs in order to obtain infertility insurance. Among those who had already experienced difficulties conceiving, the percentage jumped to 90%.
While a maximum fertility benefit of $25,000 to $30,000 is typical, Domo made a calculated decision to set the bar higher based on interviews with job candidates whose current employer already offered infertility coverage. Says Donahue, “We decided make our benefit really competitive by introducing a cap that is $10,000 higher than most.”
Jarrick Tilby agrees that it’s a powerful lure. He points to a friend who joined Domo from Goldman Sachs in part because of the fertility package.
But for Tilby and his wife Michelle, the fertility journey continues. While the first IVF implant the couple undertook with Progyny was unsuccessful, Jarrick remains optimistic. “Michelle is getting shots everyday to prepare for another egg retrieval and we hope the next implantation will result in a successful pregnancy.”
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