Have you ever stayed awake at night thinking about the outrageous cost of fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF)? Do you ever ask yourself why, despite the provision of science, it should be far-fetched for some couples to conceive and be able to raise a family just because of the cost of treatment? Why don’t most companies provide in vitro fertilization insurance? Is there any remedy out there?
Before we go any further, let me give you what you are going to find in this article and you are very much at liberty to jump to the part you would like to look at:
Great! So then let’s get started.
Think about this for a moment. Isn’t it known that motherhood is a magical stage in every woman’s life? After all, becoming a mother is an extremely special moment. Your child, the one you created with your partner, comes in to this world and you muster up all the love that you possibly can for your little angel, hoping to give your child a life as good as yours, or even better.
However, life can be cruel and there was a time when there were several unfortunate women who were denied the right to become mothers simply because they were unable to conceive naturally. They tried and prayed and cried in vain, hoping that they would one day see a miniature version of themselves in front of their eyes, but that never happened.
Science and technology has changed the way the world functions. Seeping in to every field that one can possibly think of, it has made several things deemed to be impossible, possible. When everything is being modified and being made easier by research and development, why should the joy of becoming a mother be left behind?
If you have been trying to conceive naturally, unsuccessfully, there is good news for you! There are several options that are now available that will help you bring your child in to this beautiful world and one of those options are In-Vitro Fertilization. But here is the problem, it is expensive. And only a tiny fraction of health insurance policies provide IVF insurance plans.
Why most health insurance plans do not cover IVF
There are basically two primary reasons why health insurance service providers rarely cater for in vitro fertilization insurance.
i. Bad economics for business: Health insurance providers must shoulder the cost of IVF procedure. This may range as much as $12,000 per cycle and some couples may require multiple cycles before then can conceive. They are also conscious of increased downstream medical costs for the couple.
ii. Not a matter of life and death: The second reason that health insurance rarely provides IVF insurance is that IVF is considered as an elective procedure. You aren’t gonna die for not conceiving! So, the inability to conceive is considered a non life threatening condition. Your choice to seek treatment is therefore considered a lifestyle choice. Until lawmakers define infertility as a disease, this situation may remain so for a long time to come. Annoying isn’t it?
Costs of IVF:
Typically, when you opt for this, your eggs are induced with medication and your ovulation is closely monitored, after which, your fresh eggs are harvested and then combined with the sperm. The best looking embryo (maybe two) is then transferred in to the uterus. Including the medications, which can run up to $3000 to $6000, couples can be expected to shell out around $20,000 on an average. There are also clinics that offer you a discount or refund in which you get multiple IVF cycles at a 30% to 40% discount if you were to go for the exact same treatment one cycle at a time.
IVF Insurance Landscape:
Before we go any further, let’s have a look at the following statistics:
1. 10% of american women have consulted their doctors regarding fertility issues.
2. The year 1996 saw 64,681 reported IVF treatment procedures and this went up by 226% in 2009 with 146,244 reported cases.
3. IVF and other assisted reproductive techniques helped bring 106,060 infants in the U.S. on 2009.
You would think that because infertility is so common these days, insurance companies would take care of this, right? You couldn’t be farther from the truth. Like all companies, insurance companies have “profit” as their bottom line and are answerable to their shareholders. Their profit would be the difference between what they collect as premiums and what they shell out as claims. The treatment of IVF is extremely expensive compared to the premiums that they collect and these companies don’t deem infertility treatment as a medical necessity. So they generally don’t cover IVF treatment in their health insurance policies.
With the debate on this topic heating up and more couples opting for IVF treatment, several states such as Arkansas, California, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey have made it mandatory for insurance policies to cover infertility treatment expenses that include IVF as well. So more and more states are now opening up to the fact that IVF treatment is important for couples to lead normal and healthy lives.
Your health insurance policy can have one of the following:
> No coverage for infertility
> Insurance coverage for infertility diagnosis only
> Coverage only for infertility diagnosis and certain treatment
> Full health insurance coverage for infertility treatment
You are lucky if your health insurance gives you full coverage for your treatment but, be careful that you read the fine print and have a heart-to-heart chat with your doctor to confirm whether the procedures involved will be covered by insurance provider or not.
With that said, IVF treatment was something that only the rich had access to at one point of time. But this situation is changing. For instance, Indiana would even have a new Bill coming in soon that will make it mandatory for all insurance companies to provide coverage for fertility treatments. The House Bill 1059 is surely going to boost coverage for fertility treatments, and make it affordable for all.
Add to it the fact that with so many financial options available for making the payment and several clinics easily available to give you the best IVF treatment, the joy of parenthood is never out of your reach.
6 Options To Cover Your IVF treatment Costs
Of course, there are various ways you can finance your IVF treatment whether with IVF insurance or not. Below are a few you can consider as you look at options.
(i) State mandates
You will be amazed to learn that only fifteen states have made it a legal requirement that health insurance in their jurisdiction cover some infertility treatments. Of the fifteen, eight have gone further to cater for in vitro fertilization insurance coverage. The eight are Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Texas.
These state mandates mostly apply to group plans domiciled in that state. Be mindful, however, to note that each mandate may include exclusions that may differ from one state to another. And living in a state with a mandate, is not guarantee that you will find an IVF insurance cover although your chances are higher.
(ii) Headquarters of your Employers
Some nationwide employers have their headquarters located in states with mandates referred to above. If as a couple you both work for such employers, you stand a chance of getting in vitro fertilization insurance. Simply because group plans obtained in such a state, should provide benefits to every participant despite where they live.
So couples who reside in non-mandate states may benefit if their employer is based in mandate state.
(iii) IVF Scholarships
Some non-profit organizations provide scholarships to those seeking IVF treatment. One such organization is Baby Quest Foundation. You need to carry out you due diligence as eligibility requirements and what the grants cover vary from one organization to the other. Details and application deadlines may be found at the websites of these organizations.
(iv) IVF Vacations
Whilst the costs of IVF in the U.S may range not less than $12,000, you will be glad to know that the average price of IVF treatments in other countries can be as low as $4,000. IVF vacations have gained popularity and most Americans are going abroad to seek medical treatment. A number of couples have found this option cheaper even when you include costs of hotels and airfare.
Crowdfunding is another way of raising funds for various causes that include IVF treatment. Go to the GoFundMe platform and search for IVF treatment. You will be amazed to note that a number of couples have successfully raised funds for their treatment. So as a couple who need help raising funds for your IVF treatment, this could be one avenue you may use.
(vi) Military discount
There are several fertility clinics that offer IVF treatment discounts to U.S military personnel. The discounts vary from clinic to clinic with some offering as much as 25%. At Brown Fertility, current and new patients in the military are eligible for a 10% IVF military discount (off non-covered base price IVF procedures). These discounts may obviously change from time to time depending on the provider. To obtain this IVF treatment military discount, you need to present your U.S. military identification card at the time of the initial consultation.
What is In-Vitro Fertilization?
In-Vitro fertilization is quite different from artificial insemination, in which the sperm is planted in the uterus so that you can conceive naturally. This process is likely to assist couples suffering from:
> Low sperm count
> Low sperm survival rate
> Ovulation problems
> Uterus or fallopian tube problems
IVF is a process in by which the sperm and the eggs are brought together in the laboratory, and once the embryo or embryos are formed, they are carefully placed back in to the womb. It is an expensive and a highly complicated process and that is what makes IVF treatment, an expensive option. Only about 5% of infertile couples seek out this option. It was introduced in the U.S in 1981, and since then, it has brought more than 200,000 babies in to this world.
Side-effects of IVF:
Like everything else on this planet, IVF treatment has its own side-effects and risks associated with it. They are not extremely serious and in most of the cases, women can get back to their daily routine the following day. Some of the side-effects are:
> Passing clear or blood-tinted fluid post the treatment.
> Slight cramping
> Mild bloating
> Breast tenderness
However, in case of having blood in the urine, pain in the pelvic region, heavy vaginal bleeding and fever, you must visit your doctor immediately. Other risks and side-effects include headaches, mood swings, unconsciousness, weight gain and vomiting.
The side effects above can not overshadow the joy of having your own baby and raising a family. There is need to strongly advocate for a situation where finding health insurance that covers infertility treatment should not be a major issue. Such coverage should include in vitro fertilization insurance policies.