Fertility treatment builds families. However, sadly many patients assume that they will be unable to afford the treatment they need. Today we will focus on ways to break the perceived financial barriers that prevent patients from accessing care.
Here’s how to approach the finances of your fertility:
Fertility Benefits: Over the last decade, numerous companies have introduced fertility benefits, either through traditional insurance companies or through third party vendors such as Kindbody or Progyny.
Medication Discounts: Additionally, pharmaceutical companies have developed programs to address the barrier of medication costs.
Grants and Loans: Organizations, such as the Cade Foundation and United Medical Credit, provide funds to assist patients with gap funding for completing their financial plan.
Range of Treatment Options: Finally, treatment options, such as INVOcell, have introduced affordable approaches to in vitro fertilization.
Your first step when considering fertility treatment should be to contact the Human Resources department at your company. They will be able to review your benefits and let you know if you have fertility coverage. It is important to get very granular and make certain that you understand exactly what is and isn’t covered. For example, often a patient is covered to see a fertility specialist like myself in consultation and maybe to treat any causes of infertility, for example a surgery to remove your fibroids, but that does not mean that you have coverage for in vitro fertilization. These nuances can frequently surprise patients and leave them scrambling to find alternative financing options. Another important point is that fertility treatment is associated with the female partner in most traditional insurances. In other words, if a man’s company offers benefits for fertility treatment, but the wife or female partner is not on this coverage (perhaps she has her own), the fertility treatment cannot be applied to the couple until the female is placed on the insurance coverage. This typically can only happen during a period of open enrollment. So if you are thinking about trying to conceive or using fertility benefits in an upcoming year, remember to put the female partner on the insurance policy. More progressive programs like Kindbody and Progyny are more flexible about offering benefits to single men and LGBTQ+ couples, but if a woman is receiving care, she still needs to be on the policy that has the fertility benefits. Consult your Human Resources department to learn which program your fertility benefits are contracted with.
Once you understand your fertility benefits, you will then need to determine whether you have enough for treatment or not. Frequently, insurance policies cover some portion of the fertility treatment but not enough to cover all treatment services and medications. In this case, patients need to find gap coverage to complete their financing plan. Several programs exist to provide medical loans for care including fertility treatment. For instance, the program that our clinic, Lane Fertility, collaborates with is United Medical Credit. This program requires a traditional application and credit check but patients can receive funding sufficient to cover their fertility treatment services, medications, egg donor services, donor eggs, etc. Programs like this are critically important as they provide patients the opportunity for patients to move toward treatment quickly and not delay care when critical factors, such as age, can impact outcomes. The Tinina Q. Cade Foundation is a unique non-profit organization that offers grants to pay for fertility treatment. The Tinina Q. Cade Foundation™ Family Building Grant is an annual award that provides up to $10,000 to needy, infertile families. These grants assist with the costs associated with infertility treatment or domestic adoption. Family Building Grants can take the form of a cash award that is payable directly to the clinic or agency or a medication award that will be sent to the fertility clinic of the recipient. The grants are available for medical treatment of infertility and child adoption. Pharmaceutical companies have introduced programs such as Compassionate Care (EMD Serono) and Reunite Assist (Merck) which provide discounts on medications that they produce based on a patient’s income level and assets. Compassionate care discounts can be 25%, 50% or 75% on Gonal-F, Cetrotide, and Ovidrel. For patients that do not qualify for a discount, they are still eligible for a 10% rebate on the medications that they purchase. Reunite Assist has a similar program that applies to medications including Follistim, Ganirelix and Pregnyl.
In vitro fertilization options have expanded and include a range of options that can be priced below $10,000 including medications to over $30,000. INVOcell, in vitro fertilization and embryo banking with embryo biopsy are all options that significantly improve pregnancy rates over intercourse and intrauterine insemination. Partnering these options and your financial plan is the best way to develop your treatment plan. Choose your fertility provider carefully by ensuring that they listen to your goals and can implement the correct approach to build your family.
Remember, access to fertility treatment builds families. Use these tools and prioritize building your family today.