The CDC reports that over seven million women in the US have done some sort of fertility treatment. Health coverage for infertility is rising within certain US companies. Fertility coverage is becoming more in-demand and more companies are stepping up to provide help paying for these treatments.
According to Fertility IQ there are currently over 400 US companies that offer benefits for fertility treatments.
The Cost of Fertility Treatments
Fertility treatments can add up very quickly for those who do not have insurance coverage. Before you can begin fertility treatments you will first need to take tests in order to determine exactly where the issue lies. Not all insurances cover even the testing process for fertility concerns and this can begin to add up quickly.
After you have tested and figured out what the issues may be, most fertility treatments include medication throughout the process. These medications are also usually not covered by most insurances and can become expensive quickly. This is especially the case if you need to complete multiple cycles of medication. The cost for each cycle usually can range between $1,000 to $5,000 dollars.
A single round of in-vitro fertilization can cost around $20,000 or more. A treatment like this can require more than one round for some. When you add intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to IVF this could add around $1,500 per cycle. If you find that you need to use donor eggs for an IVF cycle, the cost can rise to around $30,000.
Why More Companies are Covering Fertility Health
Fertility coverage on the rise may be credited to both a combination of fading taboos around the difficulty of conceiving, an attempt to help maintain competitive job markets within employee benefits, and even reevaluating the bias society has put on infertility and seeing it for so much more than a “hushed” issue.
Fertility coverage has been around for quite some time within some companies, but the coverage was not always following the up to date fertility trends. Mercer analyzed large employers (having over 20,000 employees) in 2018 and found that 44 percent offered some sort of coverage for IVF when compared to the 37 percent in 2017.
When it comes to smaller companies there was less of an increase in coverage. Yet some states have been found to require insurances to offer some sort of IVF coverage, such as Massachusetts.
While the federal government has not hopped on board with this requirement, perhaps it will occur within the coming decades.
Finding a Company with a Fertility Plan
There are quite a few companies out there that provide benefits to help cover these high costs. Companies such as Starbucks, Bank of America, Tesla, and Spotify offer fertility benefits to their employees.
Many women are actively seeking out employers based off of who offers the best or quality health coverage with fertility. Some have even worked for a company for some time only to find out later on that they do offer coverage for fertility. The openness of this coverage is not always made known and therefore can be left not utilised.
If you are unsure of what your company has as benefits you can reach out to your human resources representative to help. Or you may even be able to research on your own, discuss options with your colleagues, or even read the fine print of your insurance paperwork.
Helpful Tips To Help with Coverage
Here are some tips that may help to determine what benefits your company may have:
- Talk to your insurance provider. Call your insurance company and ask them what their fertility benefits are. This way you are getting your information from the source and can be sure of what your exact coverage may be. You can ask them about different plans that they may offer, as some plans may have more coverage for particular treatments or medication.
- Try and talk to your fertility providers and see if they are willing to negotiate with you. However, keep in mind that the cheapest option may not necessarily be the best option in the case of fertility. Make sure that you have researched your clinic and trust in them. Confidence in your clinic may be the difference between multiple cycles or one cycle. This also applies with pharmacies as many fertility drug prices change depending on which pharmacy you work with.
- Look into your partner’s insurance. If you are married and have two insurances, it may be worth your time to look deeper into your partners insurance and see if they offer better benefits than your own company.
- Find scholarships and grants. You may be able to find organizations that are willing to help fund fertility treatments. Foundations such as the Kyle Busch Foundation, the Baby Quest Foundation, the Cade Foundation, and the Kevin J. Lederer Life Foundation have been known to provide grants to help with these costs. You can even look into discount programs that may be available for your medications. There are many programs that offer to cover a particular portion of your medication if your income is within a certain bracket or if you are part of a military family.
The Reality of Fertility Health Coverage
Keep in mind, that if you find a company that does help with fertility health coverage, they may not cover the entirety of it. Some couples may still have to pay for some of their treatments out-of-pocket.
For some companies however, the coverage is slowly rising. There are companies that have increased their fertility benefits from $5,000 to $40,000 within the last year. Some of this is because women have lobbied for increased coverage and their employers have listened.
It is important to know too that some companies choose to not publicize the benefit very well internally to their own employees. This may be to discourage the “fertility shopping” of finding an employer with desired benefits.
Possibilities in the Future
With the rising demand of fertility treatments it leaves the question if coverage for fertility health will become more common ? It also leaves the question of how many rounds of I.V.F. should be covered? When is infertility considered no longer treatable? As well as many more specifics of what insurances should cover or not.
If the infertility rate continues to rise in the U.S. employers may need to look further into spending more on employees health care plans to help make these options available.