Ovarian reserve. Fertility tracking. Egg freezing.
These are words that are now part of our day-to-day vocabulary. Modern women demand answers to questions that were left to fate for way too long.
In the era of tracking, personal devices and data, people are increasingly looking for ways to be in charge of their health issues. Women’s health is not an exception. As more women look to better understand their bodies, holistic, convenient and personalized solutions are gaining traction.
Julia Cheek is the CEO and founder of EverlyWell, an at-home lab testing service. Their mission is to provide affordable and easy access to lab tests. They work with certified labs and a network of virtual physicians to provide a home-kit testing experience. Women’s health is a core component of EverlyWell’s offering since its inception. They provide eight tests specifically for women across all life stages, including ovarian reserve, fertility, ovarian hormone levels after menopause, breast milk DHA, HPV and a comprehensive women’s health hormonal test – their bestseller.
Women’s Health Concerns Are More Likely To Be Discredited
Cheek founded EverlyWell based on her personal experience with the health care system and not being taken seriously while trying to get a holistic assessment of her health. “I paid thousands of dollars in unexpected, not covered expenses for lab tests, and never even received my results in most cases. I knew that even though women are the decisions makers for healthcare in a family, they are also dismissed more often than men. I wanted to create a testing experience that was delightful, seamless and helped women get access to the tests they need.” Women are the overwhelming majority of their customers and users, often buying tests for friends and family. EverlyWell also offers a number of other tests where women are the typical user, including Vitamin D & Inflammation, Metabolism.
A lot of women’s specialty health tests are crucial to their health management and preventative care, but oftentimes they are not covered by insurance, causing women to have to pay out-of-pocket. This is the case with fertility hormones and weight management hormones. The rising out-of-pocket health care costs present an opportunity for at-home health testing to transform the lab industry.
Understanding Their Fertility Helps Women Plan Their Lives And Careers
The positive response to EverlyWell’s women’s health offering comes as no surprise. Research shows that the gender pay gap increases dramatically after having children, with women’s wage dropping around 4% after each child. Additionally, people are having children later in life. Fertility and family planning is, therefore, a concern for many women who are active in the workforce.
It is incredibly important to have a conversation with your physician about fertility, whether you are family planning or not. The conversation needs to start earlier so that women understand the factors that can potentially impact one’s fertility.
Cheek is particularly passionate about benefits in the workplace for women’s health and maternity. She understands the reality of founding a small, cash-strapped company. However, she is intentional about offering progressive benefits, which she hopes to increase as the company grows. “I’m really proud that we offer equal, fully paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers”. This encourages a change in mindset about traditional gender roles when parenting a newborn by providing and encouraging equal leave for both caregivers. “We also cover adoption and surrogacy. Federal paid leave is essential, and the fact that we are the only major developed country not offering a minimum is certainly a driver of the pay gap, lack of career progression for some women, and other forms of workplace bias against women“ added Cheek.
Democratizing Lab Testing For Women
With all the uncertainties in healthcare, EverlyWell is on a mission to transform one of the most crucial aspects of this industry by empowering people to take control of their health through convenient and affordable access to lab testing.
When discussing the lack of transparency women face when figuring out what something will cost them according to their coverage Cheek said, “Unfortunately, we can only offer an estimate of how much a lab test would cost if using insurance, or if a particular plan will reimburse – which is why we opted for cash pay, HSA or FSA coverage only. It’s essential to us that our customers know exactly what they will pay, and we are constantly working to launch lower-priced tests so that the price points are accessible for all. When we launched, our lowest price tests was $ 99. Now it’s $ 49.”
Cheek encourages women to have informed discussions with their physicians, and EverlyWell’s tests can help drive and support that conversation. Women can finally access the information they’ve been searching for and feel confident to discuss concerns with their provider.