We recently had the opportunity to connect with Tammy Sun, CEO and co-founder of Carrot Fertility. In our conversation, we discuss her thoughts on the role of the employer when it comes to the employee’s health, the future vision for fertility care, and the advice she would give to companies that want to take the first step into diversifying their benefits.
Can you tell us about Carrot Fertility, and what inspired you and the rest of the co-founding team to start this company?
Carrot is a simple and affordable way for companies to offer fertility coverage to employees — from doctor-approved fertility education, to basic fertility testing, egg freezing, and more complex care like in vitro fertilization (IVF) and surrogacy. We partner with leading companies who share our values of inclusion and want to offer equal access to fertility care regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. As a founding team, Carrot is an expression of our shared vision of the future where fertility care is a standard part of basic human healthcare. In a few years, we’ll look back at this time and think it was crazy that fertility wasn’t as standard at work as medical, dental, and vision coverage.
What’s the most rewarding part about your job?
I love seeing HR and People teams succeed. It’s really satisfying to see them achieve their people goals, hit their metrics, or get the attention they deserve in media coverage, which I know can be super valuable from a recruiting perspective. The HR executive role is such an important piece of any company’s leadership team. The ability to support them in their success is really rewarding, and we take very seriously the trust they’ve placed in Carrot to manage a vital piece of healthcare for their teams.
If you could wave a magic wand and make a single change to the healthcare benefits space, what would it be?
Of course, it would be to see fertility coverage in every company, as part of every plan! But at a broader level, I’d introduce radical transparency throughout the healthcare system. This is part of what is so great about companies like Amino, Lumity, Collective Health, and Carrot. The opacity of healthcare is probably the single greatest inhibitor of progress and is being used by incumbents and first-generation solutions to maintain the status quo of a broken system. Modern solutions like Amino, Carrot and others create new value for companies in large part by building business that thrive on transparency.
What’s the employer’s role when it comes to taking care of their employees’ health? Similarly, what’s the broker’s role in this relationship?
Employers bear a huge responsibility in this country when it comes to healthcare. Not just a financial responsibility but a moral one, too. It’s a very complex, difficult, and expensive position to be in. It’s Carrot’s job — and the broker’s job — to make the management of these programs easier, less stressful, and less complex for HR leaders to navigate. The smartest companies are making investments in their employees’ health in a proactive way, and the smartest brokers know how to support these strategies by partnering with top vendors. We’re honored to be working with many of the best in both categories.
“The smartest companies are making investments in their employees’ health in a proactive way, and the smartest brokers know how to support these strategies by partnering with top vendors.”Tammy Sun
Co-Founder and CEO of Carrot Fertility
How does Carrot convey the urgency of fertility care and the importance of it being covered by employer-sponsored health plans?
The urgency is organic — it comes from employees themselves. We have no greater advocates for Carrot than people who approach HR teams with smart, detailed, and impassioned pleas for the product. I personally see emails nearly every day from employees who ask us to talk to their HR teams. We have also engaged with companies who are feeling the pain of losing a candidate they’ve been recruiting to another company, likely because they didn’t have a sufficient answer to the question: “What kind of fertility benefits do you offer?” Moreover, for large, self-funded employers, the ROI of having a managed fertility program is a no-brainer. If you’re a CFO looking only at dollars and cents, then Carrot is common sense.
What’s your advice for companies that want to diversify their healthcare benefit offerings?
We see the smartest leaders making investments in three main areas: fertility, mental health, and healthcare transparency platforms like Collective, Amino and Lumity. This is largely driven by a desire to reduce the spend on benefits once considered universally appealing (think: The New York Times subscription for everyone) but ultimately rather insignificant to employees’ quality of life. Instead, companies are making smarter investments in areas of healthcare that can have a big, memorable impact at a vital point in an employee’s life, thereby increasing loyalty and satisfaction. So, fertility treatment. Or, confronting anxiety or depression.
The first step is to get your own data, not just from employees through surveys (sometimes helpful, sometimes doesn’t capture the entire picture) but also from top vendors. Brokers and consultants can also be a great resource.
The second step is to apply a trust filter to the vendor you’re considering. Are there any hidden fees? Do I know where money is moving, when, how and why, at all times? If you want to bring quality and efficiency to your healthcare spend, this is an important consideration to take into account when choosing partners. Ask hard questions.
Lastly, look at demographic and market trends as a signal for what your employees want and need. New data from Pew Research revealed that people are having more children than ever before — they’re just having the first child later than previous generations. The implications of this for fertility care, health plans and the future of work are significant. As an HR leader, you have the opportunity to position your company to win by designing programs that support and deeply enrich the lives of people who power your business.