Progyny had the opportunity to teach two classes at the IFEBP annual conference this year. The group’s annual benefits conference is an excellent venue for exploring where labor benefits are heading into the next year.
I had the pleasure of attending and participating in the 2023 IFEBP conference in Boston this October, where I took part in a growing conversation among trustees for better reproductive benefits, including increased fertility coverage and care for members undergoing menopause.
Labor is re-evaluating how groups care for their members while working to improve women’s health in a time when recruitment and retention are at the forefront of the labor movement.
Here are the three big ideas driving labor’s shift in reproductive care:
Labor is working to build a bigger, healthier family
In the last few years, there’s been a growing trend in multi-employer plans and employers with bargained populations adding fertility benefits to support their members. Because these specialized benefits can lead to healthier pregnancies and healthier babies (Progyny, for instance, achieves lower miscarriage rates1 and higher birth rates2 than national averages), they can help members grow their families while avoiding costly high-risk pregnancies and NICU stays that can put a strain on any fund. Benefits like Progyny also extend support in meaningful ways by offering dedicated support advocates and extended preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum care.
We’re seeing this play out in real-time at Progyny. Just this year, we’ve worked with unions to bring fertility benefits to approximately 350,000 new members.
Union women need better care at critical milestones
Women’s health is another issue that unions are tackling as we head into 2024. Expanding one’s family or approaching menopause are two areas where women in organized labor need specialized care. Labor is stepping up to make those transitions as smooth as possible. I was pleased to see such an interest in menopause care at the IFEBP event. Following Europe’s recent push to provide menopause care for union members over the last two years, organizations in the States are adding these benefits for their members.
Unions and their membership stand to benefit here in several ways. Specialized menopause care treats the symptoms of menopause, but it also supports women’s overall health as menopause can increase cardiovascular and other health risks. This care may also reduce absenteeism and ensure a successful return to work for women experiencing the often-debilitating symptoms of menopause.
Better benefits are key to supporting labor’s growing diversity
Our unions reflect the diverse makeup of our nation, and our benefits should, too. There’s a movement in labor to provide culturally competent care that supports every union member – and that movement extends to fertility and family building benefits. Black populations, LGBTQ+ individuals, and single parents face unique paths to parenthood, so unions have been considering benefits that support these populations in an intentional way. Fertility coverage that considers the individual and removes barriers to care for these groups is a powerful tool for attracting and retaining women, minorities, and LGBTQ+ members. As labor looks to diversify, benefits can play a major role. This is a particularly valuable opportunity for those trade organizations and other groups where DEI goals are playing a strong role in recruitment.
With some 5,000 trustees in attendance and more than 150 expert practitioners on-hand (including Progyny’s own Chief Medical Officer Dr. Janet Choi) this year’s event was an incredible opportunity to see how labor is leading the way in reproductive care. I’m excited to continue the conversation, and from the buzz at IFEBP this month, I know it’s going to be a big year for fertility in the labor market.
Interested in bringing a fully supported fertility experience to your members? Contact us: Stacey Hofert, Stacey.Hofert@progyny.com 847-372-9959 or Ron Abrahall, RN Ronald.Abrahall@progyny.com 631-294-2012.
1Calculated based on the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, or SART, 2020 National Summary Report, finalized in 2023.
2Calculated based on CDC, 2021 National Summary and Clinic Data Sets, published in 2023
Stacey Hofert is Group Vice President of Labor for Progyny. She started her career as a union steel worker, which gave rise to a passion for bargained populations that has driven her into leadership in the Taft-Hartley market for 20 years with a specialization in working with Health and Welfare funds. She has worked in various capacities, including cost containment, third party administration, and managed infertility benefits. Today, Stacey works with plans to incorporate quality infertility benefits and to educate the market and trustees on why these benefits are so meaningful – and impactful – for their membership. Stacey has an B.S. from Western Illinois University in Human Resource Management and an M.B.A. from Kellar Graduate School of Management.