You’ve always heard that kids aren’t cheap. To raise a child, birth through adulthood, estimates range from $200,000 to $400,000 when you include a college education. No one expects to heap the cost of getting pregnant to that pile of cash. But here you stand, poised to make an investment that will lead you to parenthood, and a lifetime of providing for a child’s needs and dreams.
Once our highly trained fertility doctors map out the treatment plan most likely to result in a pregnancy, the Texas Fertility Center financial team will help estimate the costs, and what your insurance will cover. Before the initial appointment, plan to ask your employer for a full copy of your health insurance contract (different than a benefits summary) and fill out an online insurance benefit questionnaire. This will enable the staff Texas Fertility Center to accurately consult with you with regards to an estimate of out-of-pocket expenses. Fortunately, Texas is a fertility-friendly state. Texas law mandates at least partial coverage for infertile couples and individuals; although some plans pay to diagnose infertility, but not to treat it. Unfortunately, no two cycles look the same, and our approximation of cost considering an average amount of medication, lab work and office visits, may in fact fall short of, or extend beyond, the estimate.
Exploring your options
Some couples turn to savings, a home equity or 401(k) loan or even take a part-time job to pay for out-of-pocket expenses, while others choose to finance fertility treatment costs with a low interest loan. At Texas Fertility Center, we do not directly offer financing, but instead refer patients to outside vendors, such as Advanced Reproductive Care (ARC), the nation’s largest network of fertility specialists. This program offers patients shared-risk financing, with ARC guaranteeing at least a partial refund if you don’t become pregnant. Multi-cycle programs like those offered by ARC give you a better chance of conceiving because, statistically, couples do not get pregnant after one round of advanced treatment such as IVF. Contact ARC to inquire about the IVF refund program that minimizes financial risk and relieves the pressure to get pregnant with one cycle. Among other finance companies specializing in healthcare, Med Loan Finance offers 12 month, 0 percent financing and serves Texas Fertility Center patients. If you have access to a flexible spending account (FSA) at work, create one now to help save your pre-tax dollars to fund the cost of treatment.
Here’s how it works: You’ll first estimate your spending. Remember it’s “use it or lose it” for a calendar year. Then request that your employer deduct that amount from your monthly paycheck. When you turn in a reimbursable expense, the plan sends you a check from your pre-tax, banked funds.
Making a plan
Start a file with copies of all prescriptions, procedure orders and contact information for your insurance company’s representatives. Written documentation will serve you best if there is ever a question about your patient history and medical claims, so try to communicate with letters. The Texas Fertility Center website provides copies of sample letters of predetermination. After phone conversations, document the day, time and name of the insurance representative. We recommend deciding in advance how far you are willing to go to pursue treatment. At some point, the financial burden may become too great. Your relationship as a couple has to come first, so plan to have a frank conversation about when to say when, and how much you can afford in fertility treatments. Contact us to reserve a time with a Texas Fertility patient account representative and we’ll provide one-on-one advice and consultation. If you want to go one step further, advocacy groups such as RESOLVE work toward insurance reform to give infertile couples a voice.