How employee fertility benefits are changing
Carrot Fertility provides employer benefits that address the accessibility and affordability of fertility treatment
Carrot Fertility provides employers with comprehensive fertility care benefits coverage. Founded by four individuals with personal experience with fertility care — Tammy Sun, Dr. Asima Ahmadm Juli Insinger, and Arun Venkatesan — the global and innovative company provides coverage in 40 countries including the U.S.
While most employer benefits packages include three coverage elements — medical, dental and vision — Carrot Fertility takes benefits a step further. They offer fertility care coverage that includes egg freezing, fertility testing, adoption, surrogacy, sperm freezing, and financing help.
About their coverage
As part of its mission, Carrot Fertility is determined to identify and confront issues of accessibility and affordability when obtaining fertility treatment. These include invisible or largely unacknowledged barriers to obtaining services.
One example of these difficult policies can be found offered by insurers that only cover treatment for women in heterosexual relationships or for those who have tried to conceive for a specified period. These types of policies exclude many people desiring a child. With Carrot’s policies, things are different.
How Carrot will address the up-front affordability problem
Carrot’s customized benefits offer alternatives to plans that leave significant affordability gaps. While traditionally, availability does not equate to affordability, Carrot wants to change that.
Until now, even employees covered by Carrot benefits have to pay for their treatment out of pocket before being reimbursed by the employer. Even with the promise of reimbursement, not everyone can afford the upfront costs of fertility treatment which can easily reach the four and five-figure range. While personal lines of credit are an option for some patients, this doesn’t work for everyone.
Some start-up fertility companies offer financing plans to cover fertility treatments. But according to Carrot’s founder Tammy Sun, financing plans that amount to a low-interest loan is an imperfect solution. “I think loans are a great solution for some people, but my philosophy is that fertility is something millions of people need access to and haven’t had, so we want to enable access to this type of treatment without incurring medical debt.”
A new feature of the plan: The Carrot Card
The Carrot Card is designed to be completely employer-funded as part of its relationship with Carrot Fertility.
The company’s new Carrot Card is a debit card that can be loaded by employers with funds that patients use to pay for treatment upfront, rather than incurring costs and waiting for reimbursement. Additionally, employees can choose to allocate tax-exempt contributions of their own to the card by directing deductions from their paychecks.
The Carrot Card is unlike a traditional flexible spending account or health savings account to the extent that it is designed to be completely employer-funded as part of its relationship with Carrot Fertility.
Carrot will use venture capital funding to expand supports
Carrot’s approach is providing a needed service that’s working. As a result, it is being rewarded with financing that will allow the company to continue to grow and serve the marketplace. Since its founding in 2016, the organization has received venture capital financing totaling $15 million, including $11.5 million in Series A financing announced in April 2019.
Why is this work so important and so well-funded? Sun believes that people are becoming increasingly expectant of benefits coverage for fertility treatment. As she describes it, “People who seek access to this type of care increasingly need and expect fertility benefits to be covered at work. More men and women are having children later, gay and lesbian couples and couples seeking donor eggs and third party reproduction options like adoption are all part of the modern experience of fertility.”
Let’s hope that with the kinds of services Carrot Fertility provides things will change, enabling couples to expand their families as they’d like. Perhaps, based on this success story, other benefits providers will even follow suit. Time will tell.
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