With advances in fertility treatments and our ability to diagnose different causes of infertility, sometimes it is the cost and not the diagnosis that gets in the way of building your family. Fertility care has not always been treated as a necessary medical procedure, and for that reason is not sometimes not covered by insurance. There is also a spectrum of treatment options available with varying costs. Understanding your options as well as making a plan for affordable care can make the process so much easier.
IVF May Not Be The Place To Start
IVF is the procedure most often associated with fertility treatments, but there are other procedures - both less invasive and less expensive - that may be a better place to start your journey.
Intrauterine insemination, also called artificial insemination or IUI, is a great place to start if your infertility is unexplained or caused by low or poor sperm count. This process has 3 basic steps:
- Ovulation is tracked and a fertile period is identified (extra steps may be taken if ovulation is not occurring normally)
- Semen is collected and washed
- Sperm is inserted directly into the uterus
After insemination begins the dreaded Two Week Wait, after which you can take a pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant.
If you need more intervention than IUI, you may want to try minimal stimulation IVF, or Mini IVF. Not only is this a generally cheaper option than full rounds of IVF, it uses fewer hormones which is a positive for some patients.
Mini IVF cycles use smaller amounts of the injectable medications that cause the hyperstimulation of the ovaries. For Mini IVF patients we will also limit the monitoring of laboratory interventions to keep costs as low as possible.
Check What is Covered By Your Insurance
Requirements for providing coverage for fertility treatments vary state by state. According to Cal. Health & Safety Code § 1374.55 and Cal. Insurance Code § 10119.6 California requires:
“specified group health care service plan contracts and health insurance policies to offer coverage for the treatment of infertility, except in vitro fertilization. The law requires every plan to communicate the availability of coverage to group contractholders. The law defines infertility, treatment for infertility and in vitro fertilization. The law clarifies that religious employers are not required to offer coverage for forms of treatment that are inconsistent with the organization's religious and ethical principles. The law was amended by 2013 Cal. Stats., Chap. 644 (AB 460) to specify that treatment of infertility shall be offered and, if purchased, provided without discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.”
If you’re looking for a new insurance plan or are trying to work within your existing coverage, it is important to look for specific details of coverage and requirements before treatment. These can include:
- Minimum time trying
- Coverage of procedures
- Coverage of medications
- Number of rounds that are covered
- Coverage of surrogacy or donor services
With all of these details clarified, you can build a realistic plan.
Fertility Treatments are Becoming a More Common Benefit
Increasingly, fertility treatments are becoming a part of benefits plans, either as a part of the chosen insurance or in addition. According to FertilityIQ “the number of US companies offering an IVF benefit has grown by approximately 10% in 2017.” At the heart of this shift is the tech industry, with the leading companies “Facebook and Salesforce offer[ing] benefits worth over $100,000 per employee”.
The popularity - and often necessity - of this benefit means that top employees are choosing companies that support their family planning goals. To compete, smaller companies and other industries are starting to add levels of access to fertility care to their benefits packages.
There is enough stress in fertility care, worrying about how the cost of growing your family shouldn’t add to it. We believe finances should never get in the way of building your dream family. A great resource for finding options for financing your fertility care is Resolve: the National Infertility Association.
We are also happy to serve as a resource and guide as you navigate all of your options. Our patient financing services for all fertility treatment options have competitive rates, and our Finance Specialist will guide you through the process of selecting the right financing package for you. These programs are designed to eliminate the obstacles to achieving your dream of having a family. Allay some of your financial worries, and begin your journey to parenthood!