The Price of Infertility
Of the $3 billion to $5 billion spent per year in the U.S. on infertility treatments, only about 20 to 35 percent is covered by insurance. Fortunately, benefits are improving. Currently, 15 states require health plans to offer some degree of coverage, although who and what is covered can vary greatly, according to David Adamson, M.D., chief executive officer of a network of fertility specialists called Advanced Reproductive Care. (For more information, log on to resolve.org, the Web site for RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association.) But meanwhile, don't despair if you're not eligible for benefits. There are several new alternatives for financing treatment:
- Packaged medical plans: There are a number of clinics and one national network that charge patients up front for infertility treatments. Through Advanced Reproductive Care, a consortium of more than 250 reproductive endocrinologists in 37 states, you can, as an example, buy three cycles of in vitro fertilization for $27,000. If treatment is not successful in one year, $20,000 of that is refunded. Financing is available. For more information, call 888-990-2727 or go to arcfertility.com.
- Pharmaceutical companies: Some fertility-drug manufacturers may offer discounts to patients through their physicians when a patient's financial need warrants, says Diane Clapp, R.N., director of medical information for RESOLVE. Ask your doctor if she knows of any program that might save you money.
- Your employer: Before you sign up for a health plan, be sure to check out what's covered. Some employers are offering elective health plans, to which both the company and employee contribute money. Instead of choosing a general health plan, you could opt to spend your "allowance" on infertility treatments, says Adamson. This is a good option for someone who has general medical coverage under a spouse's plan. -- Deborah Pike Olsen