Many women in the United States are waiting longer to give birth to their first child. In 1970 the mean age of a woman, when she first gave birth, was 21 years old. That age rose to 25 years old in 2000, and 28 years old in 2016. There are 2 key trends contributing to this increase:
(1) Fewer women under 20 are giving birth for the first time: Over the past 15 years, the proportion of women under 20 giving birth for the first-time dropped from 23 percent to 13 percent.
(2) More women over 30 are giving birth: CDC data indicates that the birth rate among women aged 30 – 34 has increased. In 2017, this rate surpassed that of women aged 25 – 29, moving the most common age for women to give birth to 30 – 34 for the first time ever.
Many social and economic changes over the years have led to the age difference; such as the decrease in teen pregnancy and the increase of women entering the workforce. As the average age of first time mothers has increased, there has also been a steady increase in fertility treatments over the past 15 years. While the cost of a normal pregnancy ranges from about $30,000 to $50,000, certain fertility treatments can have a huge impact on this cost. Basic fertility treatments range from $100 to $3,500, while advanced fertility treatments range from $7,500 (egg freezing) to over $30,000 (Invitro Fertilization, or IVF, with donor eggs). In special cases, multiple cycles of IVF increase the chances of a successful pregnancy but can more than triple the cost.
Most employers may opt to not cover fertility treatments. However, it is a benefit perk that may be attractive for some employers. If the choice is to cover this treatment, care should be taken that the plan document reflects exactly what is intended. Poorly drafted coverage language can lead to multiple rounds of infertility treatments being covered or on-going costs that the employer never intended.
Another strategy for containing the cost of pregnancy is to proactively plan for complications. Should they arise, choosing a network that has the best pricing for Children’s Hospitals and NICU care will keep costs down. Roundstone can look at your current census and suggest a strategy which aligns with your population to provide the best care and coverage for your company.
Planning ahead is key. Developing a road map now for future mothers and children will save your company on potential high dollar claims, while ensuring they receive the best care possible.
Sources: cdc.gov, AdvancedFertility.com