Quantum Health inks partnership with Kindbody amid growing demand for employer fertility benefits

Fertility benefits have joined medical and dental as standard workplace benefits as leading employers continue to look for ways to help their workers expand their families.

Despite a need for fertility services, fertility care in the U.S. is inaccessible to many due to the cost. Most patients pay out of pocket for fertility treatment, which can amount to well over $10,000 depending on the services received, according to a KFF report.

Healthcare navigation and care coordination company Quantum Health is partnering with Kindbody to build out its family-building benefits offering, according to an announcement the companies shared first with Fierce Healthcare. Fertility-focused "unicorn" startup Kindbody offers both virtual care services and operates a network of technology-driven fertility clinics across the country.

The partnership with Kindbody also builds out Quantum Health’s comprehensive care solutions platform as the company announced a tie-up with fertility benefits company Progyny earlier this year.

"What's so exciting about this partnership is that it's going to bring together Quantum Health and Kindbody's proprietary technology, which is really at the core of our solutions, to deliver a really strong seamless end-to-end care experience," Taryn Branca, Kindbody's chief revenue officer told Fierce Healthcare, in an exclusive interview.

"Quantum Health can leverage its artificial intelligence and technology to be able to identify patients earlier and connect them sooner in their reproductive journey. That enables Kindbody to intervene as a physician-led, clinically-driven solution to hopefully help people understand fertility sooner and be able to understand their options in their path sooner and give them the chance to build the family of their dreams."

According to a new report published by the World Health Organization, roughly 1 in 6 adults worldwide experience infertility. Despite many people requiring fertility assistance, inclusive of heterosexual, LGBTQ+ or single individuals, many services are out of reach for most people because of access and cost.

Quantum Health will fully integrate Kindbody’s solution into its navigation platform, including access to double board-certified or double board-eligible reproductive endocrinologists licensed in all 50 states, as well as access to 32 Kindbody signature clinics and a curated network of partner clinics nationwide.

“Our recent study with Employer Benefit News in ‘The State of Healthcare 2023’, revealed that of those employees seeking providers in reproductive care (e.g., for fertility, miscarriage, birth and/or adoption) within the past year, only 29% characterized ‘access to care’ as very easy,” said Dan Shur, Quantum Health's chief product officer, in a statement. "Instead, employees found friction in getting the reproductive care they need, specifically reporting trouble with appointments and finding a provider."

"These insights clearly highlight the real challenges for those interested in starting or growing a family. It furthers our focus in providing our Preferred Partner solutions around family-building that integrate with our navigation engagement platform and demonstrate real, at-scale results," Shur said.

Healthcare navigation services have evolved beyond just managing vendors and providing employees with access to their open enrollment information. Quantum Health developed an employee engagement platform powered by proprietary technology, called a Real-Time Intercept model, that uses AI to identify opportunities for early intervention in a member’s healthcare journey, resulting in better engagement, outcomes and cost efficiencies, according to the company.

The 24-year-old company offers a simplified navigation experience that connects member services, provider services and clinical care coordination in one place. Quantum Health works with 500 employer clients, covering 3 million lives with more than 1,000 "healthcare warriors," or what the company calls its workers, according to Shannon Skaggs, president of Quantum Health. 

The company also works with 700 benefits solutions and designed its platform to make it simpler and more effective for members to get access to the care and services they need, Skaggs said.

Quantum Health likes to focus on the "hard stuff," he noted. "Where complexity lives in healthcare is often where really bad experiences and high dollar cost mistakes, stops and stalls of care happen. We tend to look at our populations and say, 'Where are our clients struggling from a cost perspective, from a retention and acquisition of talent perspective? Where are their benefits behind a little bit? So family building was perfectly suited for this," Skaggs said in an interview. Kindbody's omnichannel approach that offers both virtual care services and access to a network of clinics opens up access to these services for employees, he said.

"I've noticed the partners that really work well with us are aligned like we are, 'warriors' fighting for what's right for those members and providers," he added. "Their approach was similar to ours, it was very much empathetic and backed with clinical outcomes that matter, along with ROI."

Founded in late 2018, Kindbody takes a tech-driven approach to fertility care and its services encompass reproductive care from preconception to postpartum and through menopause.  The company aims to make fertility and family-building care more accessible by serving people wherever they are—virtually through telehealth, in person at clinics, in the workplace or at home. 

It is now the fertility benefits provider for 112 employers, covering more than 2.4 million lives. Last year, the company added 42 large employer clients, including Walmart. The fast-growing company has raised about $306 million to date, including a $100 million round in March that raised its valuation to a reported $1.8 billion.

The company made a number of strategic acquisitions last year to build out its capabilities: Vios Fertility Institute, more than doubling its national clinic footprint, genomics company Phosphorus Labs to bring genetic testing and carrier screening in-house and a gestational surrogacy agency.

The company's clinically managed program covers the full spectrum of reproductive health, including both female and male fertility, and encompasses fertility assessments and education, fertility preservation, genetic testing, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), pharmacy management, donor and surrogacy services, foster care and adoption. As the care provider, Kindbody gives patients the ability to securely message their doctor, chat with their embryologist, and access real-time insights into assessments and blood test results any time.

With the current tight labor market, family-building and fertility benefits for employees are no longer "nice-to-have" but are now "must-have" benefits, Branca contends.

"It is part of retention and recruitment and it's part of sustaining your employee base," she said. "This is continuing to be front and center for employers to really look at not just the demand for family building and fertility services, but also when you look at diversity, equity and inclusion, are we really helping all people build families in whatever way they choose? Employers have adopted a strategy with Quantum Health to leverage their navigation and their employee engagement platform." The partnership creates an "easier pathway" for employers to create a seamless member experience for the patient, she noted.

At the same time, Quantum Health also is focused on making it easier for employers to manage their benefits solutions and improve engagement among employees. The company is focused on more costly, complex care services that employers struggle to manage, such as musculoskeletal, behavioral health and cancer, Skaggs said.

"Where we're going next is in a more premier world, things that are really hard to solve, cancer specifically. There's no real end-to-end solution there; you've got to stitch together a bunch of things," Skaggs said. "We are focused on mapping all of those things out and giving someone that navigation journey, or that GPS to help them navigate. If you tried to go do that, as an employer, you might have to buy six different point solutions, and then try to get them all working together, which most employers don't have the time or budget or the calories to spend on that. We can help bring that together."