The ABC’s of Paying for Fertility Treatment
If you’ve been struggling with infertility for a while, you may have decided it’s time to consult a fertility specialist and find out what your options are to start a family. That’s a wise decision—going to a reproductive endocrinologist, who is an expert in the field, can save you time and money in the long run. Fertility specialists diagnose the issues and provide fertility treatments with higher rates of success rather than going through lower-tech methods with lower success rates.
But you may be hesitating due to what you’ve heard about the cost of IVF and other fertility treatments. How can you pay for treatment if you’re not a Real Housewife of New York or Atlanta or wherever?
Here is some basic information so you can look at your personal finances and be prepared when you talk to the financial specialist at the fertility clinic.
Always Investigate Your Health Insurance Coverage
Fifteen states mandate some level of fertility coverage. Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia require some coverage, but they do not all require the same coverage. Read our article on insurance coverage for more detail.
Read your benefits booklet and look at the details of your policy. Even if your state does not mandate insurance coverage of fertility treatment, your policy may still cover some of the diagnostic testing and treatment, which can result in savings of as much as $1500 or more in your out-of-pocket costs. In all cases where there is at least some coverage, be sure to talk to your doctor and the fertility center financial specialist about what your plan will cover. Often a plan will pay for one preferred drug and will not pay for a different one. The same thing goes for labs—make sure you are sent to an in-network lab for your testing.
Be Aware of Savings Accounts, Pre-Tax, Employer-Sponsored and Regular
Your employer may offer Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) or Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs), which allow you to save pre-tax money and use it to pay for healthcare expenses. If you have one of these accounts you may use it to help pay for your fertility treatment. Companies deduct the amount you designate from each paycheck, so you can generally to access the total amount of your funds, and still have the paycheck deduction…it is just like getting an interest-free loan!! And saving money in one of those accounts helps lower your income tax bill, so it’s a win-win. More traditional savings accounts at your bank or savings and loan association are another source of funds to pay for your out-of-pocket expenses.
Credit Lines Come in Many Kinds
Most of us think of credit cards when we think of credit, and they are part of your existing line of credit. Other sources include unsecured bank loans and a home equity loan or line of credit (if you are a homeowner.) All of these can be used to pay for fertility treatments. If your company has a credit union, you may get especially favorable rates on loans. Credit unions are owned by their members, so their expenses, fees and interest rates often are lower than those of a commercial bank.
Dig Into For Fertility Financing
Most fertility centers offer several types of financing, including medical financing loans.Be sure to read carefully the interest rates and payment terms on any kind of medical financing loan before you commit.
Your company’s benefits may include coverage for fertility treatment as a separate benefit in addition to whatever health insurance coverage they offer. Talk to your human resources department to find out. If your company offers adoption benefits, consider talking to HR about using that for fertility treatment.
Finally, friends and family may be willing to help you with gifts or personal loans to help pay for your out-of-pocket expenses. If they can afford to give a gift or loan, your parents in particular may be glad to invest in becoming grandparents!