Monday, April 26, 2010

Money Talks: Insurance, Health Care and Your Infertility

This Google News Update appeared in my inbox this week and this is a good time to discuss the financial aspects of infertility treatments and how the new Health Care Bill falls short of alleviating this burden.

An IVF cycle will run you around $15,000 (some clinics are a little more or less expensive). Factor in the cost of medications, you've got yourself a big $20,000 bill at the end of your cycle. So it's no surprise that so many couples crumble under the weight of ART treatments. Some deplete their savings, others mortgage their home and many will accrue additional debt. 

While over 7.3 million Americans suffer from infertility, only 15 States have some form of mandate for insurance companies to cover all or part of infertility treatments. Those States are: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia. But, I did say "all or part of infertility treatments." So you can be sure that you will have to jump through hoops in order to get the coverage you need. At the end of your obstacle course, you will either be covered for the diagnostic tests, some of the medications and if you're very, very lucky, they will actually pay for your cycles in full. For those of us whose companies did not opt for infertility coverage, you do not have the option of buying individual coverage; you know, you have that "pre-existing condition" and all.

Well, the new Health Care Bill, taking effect in 2014, will make it mandatory for insurers to accept you regardless of your pre-existing condition. But before you jump for joy, nowhere does it say that insurers will be mandated to pay for your IUI or IVF cycles. And I have a sinking feeling that they probably will do anything they can to deny you coverage. 

Many don't consider infertility to be a disease. Some even say going through IVF is an elective procedure, like plastic surgery. Comments like "Why don't you just adopt or accept that you're not meant to be a parent" have appeared in numerous discussions on infertility. So it's no surprise that infertility coverage is not any where near the top of legislators' agenda. Clearly those who have children or have made the decision to not have children can't even fathom the severe emotional and physical pain you live with 24/7 in the isolation box that is infertility. 

So what can you do? First, we need to start educating people about infertility and not remain silent. Second, you can write your HR department and make your case to include IVF coverage. I guarantee you there are many other couples in the same company who need the coverage as much as you do. Third, you must relentlessly write your local congressmen and senators. It's Infertility Awareness Week and the perfect time to get involved. A great place to start is to get involved with your local chapter of RESOLVE.

As I've said before, do not sit on the sidelines. You MUST take charge of your infertility. 


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to read and make a comment on my blog. I love hearing from you. Please sign up to follow me. And don't hesitate to email with questions or future topics.