So much has changed — for the good — in the space of infertility in the past decade. Paying for services is a key issue being addressed.
Discovering one has fertility issues is bad enough. Then one learns the significant costs involved, often $60,000 for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment given it takes an average of 2.7 treatments to get pregnant. According to the CDC, out of the 7.3 million women diagnosed with infertility, over 250,000 assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures are conducted annually. Yet a recent study shared by RESOLVE suggested greater insurance coverage and reduced costs would increase access and as a result, ARTs. The good news is, change is coming.
Increased corporate fertility benefits
Innovators Carrot and Progyny understand that costs are high and many patients, so desperate for fertility coverage, job hop following the “coverage trail.” They realized if employers where to cover fertility benefits (in many cases, this includes egg freezing), they would increase employee retention. Their hypothesis was validated with companies like Starbucks, Google, and Facebook signing up.
According to patients I’ve spoken with, the Carrot and Progyny teams support both the patients and their employer, where patients face a lifetime cap for services. However, the benefits associated with medication come through the patient’s corporate pharmacy benefit (e.g., Express Scripts).
Financing via credit line
A recent entrant to the fertility market, Future Family, promises easy, affordable, all-inclusive plans for IVF and egg freezing. Rather than paying thousands of dollars at once, Future Family offers a monthly payment plan starting at $195 per month (over 5–7 years) for IVF and $150 per month (over 5 years) for egg freezing. Eligibility requires a FICO score of 680 or above.
Reduced treatment and medication costs through partnership
In May 2018, Glow, a data-driven women’s health and fertility company, launched the Glow Fertility Program, providing fertility coaching, access to the country’s top fertility clinics, lowered rates for fertility treatments, including IVF, IUI, egg freezing, and medication. The program also offers transparent payment plans for fertility treatment and services.
States’ increasing fertility treatment coverage
According to RESOLVE, currently 17 states have infertility insurance coverage laws, and six states have fertility preservation laws for iatrogenic (medically-induced) infertility. RESOLVE have been tirelessly trying to increase coverage at the state level. One activity is holding Advocacy Days in key states, where at least 100 people descend on the State Capitol to educate legislators and lobby for fertility coverage support of fertility coverage bills. The most recent one was held in Albany, NY on February 27th. On April 1, Resolve announced success with NY State passing much of the budget requests made.
If this is important to you and you want to get involved, upcoming State Advocacy Days Washington, D.C. on May 15–16 and walk the steps of our nation’s Capitol. Most recent Advocacy Days were held in Minnesota and California.
Click here to learn about fertility coverage in your state.
Learning about the costs involved in fertility treatments can be incredibly distressing. Some have money saved, others do not. Some benefit from insurance coverage, others do not. Few are independently wealthy, most are not. In the end, it is incredible to see how much has changed in this space since I began my journey back in 2010.
Originally published on Medium.