Building a family by having children is a milestone that many couples desire. Our dreams of family bring up images of cuddles with small children, family vacations and quality time together. Fertility, however, is not guaranteed for everyone. This is why it’s so important to have the best insurance for fertility if it is needed. It may take medical intervention to diagnose the underlying reasons for a couple’s infertility. Lifestyle changes and the latest technology offer hope for many couples who want to pursue having their own biological children. But Assisted Reproductive Technologies, such as IVF and IUI, can be expensive and take more than one round of treatment to be successful.
Primary health plans leave gaps
It is an unfortunate circumstance that most primary healthcare plans do not cover expensive treatments like the various types of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that roughly half of Americans receive insurance from their employer (48% in Texas). A very small number of them offer these treatment benefits for infertility. One study found that 26% of larger companies in the U.S., those with 500 employees or more, offer benefits for fertility treatments. Companies such as Progyny make fertility benefits more cost-effective to employers who want to offer this health coverage to couples and single parents. Yet, half of Americans get their health insurance from sources other than an employer, if they are covered at all.
State mandates are incomplete
And, while roughly one-third of states mandate companies of a certain size to offer some type of fertility coverage according to RESOLVE, small employers are exempt from those rules. Companies who self-fund are also not subject to state mandates. Short of a federal insurance mandate for the specific diagnosis of primary infertility, it is likely that typical group, individual and public health insurance plan benefits mean couples must pursue growing their biological family in other ways. FutureFamily is one such company that provides fertility financing to offset the cost of IVF and egg storage.
Supplemental health policies are a promising alternative
The financial and emotional toll of pursuing treatment can mean that some families are unable to pursue having their own biological children. Some may decide to abandon their dream of family altogether or pursue building their family through adoption. A different type of insurance that covers an infertility diagnosis can provide vital health coverage without breaking the bank.
LifeSpring Insurance Services, whose founders have years of experience in insurance, examined the problem through the lens of insurance. They felt that it wasn’t fair that parenthood is pursued only by those with the means to afford fertility treatments. The solution they created is a supplemental health insurance product, the first of its kind in the nation. The Primary Infertility Assistance Policy is purchased for children under age 13 with a deferred benefit covering fertility treatment for a couple between ages of 18 and 36, so they can pursue their path to parenthood.
LifeSpring CEO and Co-Founder Jason Muesse explains why this policy is designed for children: “When families buy a supplemental policy before it is needed, that policy can be offered at the lowest possible cost with the most financial benefits. When you own a policy for a possible future infertility diagnosis, its premium is a fraction of its value.” That means the time to make fertility treatment affordable is years before treatment is needed.
The benefits of a supplemental health insurance plan for infertility
LifeSpring’s Primary Infertility Assistance Policy covers what most health insurance plans do not. This includes drug therapy, diagnostic testing, IUI, lab tests, IVF, surgical care, egg and sperm retrieval and storage and more. The policy covers both the beneficiary and his or her future partner because primary infertility is a couple’s diagnosis.
The cost of treating infertility is high and overwhelming for most. For a one-time payment of $2,000, which can be paid in monthly installments, LifeSpring’s Primary Infertility Assistance Policy for Texas children ages 0-13 offers a deferred benefit from age 18-35 that pays up to $50,000 for a whole range of infertility treatments including IUI and IVF for the beneficiary couple if they ever need it when they decide to have their own biological child.
LifeSpring Insurance Services innovative policy gives many more families a way to ensure their children have the financial resources they may need to start a family if they ever need fertility treatments. No longer will it matter who their employer is, what type of insurance they have and how much money they have in the bank. Coverage is offered without waiting periods, deductibles or coinsurance.
LifeSpring’s innovative insurance plan invites any caring adult, parent, relative, godparent or friend to purchase the coverage for any Texas child. The resulting gift will last long into the future with 18 years’ worth of benefits from age 18-36. This Primary Infertility Insurance Policy will give them what they need to pursue their own biological child if they or their future partner ever requires treatment for primary infertility. It gives today’s families the best chance possible to insure their future family.
LifeSpring Insurance Services was founded in Austin, Texas, by insurance executives Jason Muesse and Eugenie Shea. It took them five years to develop a plan that was affordable and delivered comprehensive benefits to remove the barrier of finances for infertility treatments. The resulting Primary Infertility Assistance Plan is an admitted insurance product in Texas, which means the insurance policy has been reviewed by state regulators at the Texas Department of Insurance to ensure the plan will be available for years to come. They plan to pursue approval for the product in additional states.
Easy and Private
It’s quick and easy to apply. The insurance application, quote and payment can be finished online in about 10 minutes. When a beneficiary reaches age 18, the insurance ownership will transfer to them, so they can access it and file a claim when they and their partner are ready to start a family. Supplemental health insurance policies cover medical expenses that traditional health plans may not cover. There’s a good reason for that. If a comprehensive health plan covered everything possible, it would be difficult for most people to afford it. This is why the Affordable Care Act covers 10 essential benefits and part of why fertility treatment isn’t one of them.
A supplemental health insurance plan that covers infertility is a way to plan ahead to care for future family before they need it. This gives the investment in the one-time insurance premium time to grow, so it will be ready for those couples who need it to pursue having their own biological child. As parents and grandparents begin saving for their child and grandchild’s future education, wedding and home, this policy becomes an investment to help them build their future family — a precious gift.
For couples who want to have their own children and who have struggled, insurance benefits may mean the difference between completing one round of fertility treatments or four. For most Americans, infertility insurance is not a required healthcare plan benefit. While the Affordable Care Act (ACA) changed health care coverages, currently it does not require coverage for fertility treatments. Let’s take a look at the costs of infertility and how infertility insurance measures up.
How is infertility defined?
Primary infertility occurs when a couple is unable to become pregnant after one year of continuous trying without birth control. While infertility is about as common as diabetes, impacting about 12% of couples, treatments can be expensive, involved, and last for months and up to years. Treatment for infertility is unique because it is a couple’s diagnosis, so both must be diagnosed and treated. It can be an expensive condition especially if Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) such as IVF and IUI are needed.
What does fertility treatment cost?
Fatherly’s Patrick Coleman explains: “Traditional IVF will generally top out around $14,000. However, expect that figure to nearly double if electing to use donor eggs, which can cost up to $25,000.” Even without ART, medications like injectable hormones can cost hundreds per month. An Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) runs $300 to $800 per cycle, but IUI are often paired with drug therapies and costs can increase if you use donor sperm (Source). Additional fees for medications, storage, genetic testing and diagnostic exams can be extra.
According to FertilityIQ a cycle of in vitro fertilization or IVF will cost about $23,000 per cycle. And the“average IVF patient will cycle multiples times (2.3 – 2.7 times), which brings the actual cost closer to $50,000.”
Why is treating infertility often not covered by health insurance plans?
One of the reasons traditional health plans fail to offer comprehensive coverage for IVF is because it would drive overall insurance premium costs higher. Given that the average couple spends upwards of $50,000 on treatments, excluding cost of labor and delivery, insurance would have to cost enough per person to be able to provide the coverage to everyone. These are the factors that drive up the cost of primary health insurance and why it has been such a difficult problem to solve. In many states, employers also have the choice to reject fertility treatment coverage.
Assuming that an employer did offer coverage, what type of coverage could you expect to receive? ModernFertility’s Chanel Dubofsky completed an informal survey regarding infertility insurance. She found people’s experience with current fertility insurance plans coverage for treatment ranged from nothing to paying for some of the medications to paying for all of the medications and even covering one IVF cycle. There was quite a variety of experiences that she documented. FertilityIQ reports that “less than 27% of Americans have a fertility treatment paid for by insurance.” Of those, only a small percentage have the majority of the infertility treatment covered completely by insurance. Basically, it’s rare to be covered by a primary health plan you purchase individually or from an employer.
How to make fertility affordable?
There is a way to make treating infertility affordable by purchasing supplemental health insurance early in life for children who may need it as adults. In this way, we can cover this diagnosis for more couples and future families without having to rely on legislators, healthcare policy changes, employers and what primary health plan your child may have in the future.
LifeSpring offers the nation’s first Primary Infertility Assistance Policy for children ages 0-13, now available in Texas. For a one-time payment of about $2,000, which can be paid out monthly, the policy covers the insured and their future partner if they ever need infertility treatment. For relatively small investment, it pays up to $50,000 – covering the couple for 18 years from age 18-35 when they are ready to build a family. It covers all the procedures couples typically need to resolve an infertility diagnosis up to $50,000, including IVF and IUI, storage, medications and minor procedures.
If you or someone you care about has been through treatment for infertility, you know the stress and financial hardship it brings. We may not be able to remove the emotional weight an infertility journey brings, but a LifeSpring policy can relieve the financial hardship that causes many couples to abandon their dream of having their own biological child. Learn more about the product and contact us if we can answer your questions.
Deciding to have children together is a monumental decision. It can be an exciting and hopeful time to embark on this journey together. But when trying to conceive lasts longer than you both think it should, it can be frustrating. Seeking out fertility treatments like IVF and IUI can add to the stress. During and after IVF, there are still many ways for you and your spouse to stay connected.
While undergoing treatment for infertility might be one of the most difficult periods of you and your partner’s life, it can also be a time to strengthen your relationship. Here are a few ways a couple can connect with one another emotionally and physically during and after IVF treatments.
Throughout IVF Treatments
Honor One Another’s Contributions
It doesn’t matter what part of the journey to parenthood you are on, honor your unique journey and contributions toward having a child together. There will always be moments that you might shoulder more of a burden, but the same is true of your partner.
Holly Schechter, who went through IVF with her husband, explained how hard it was for her at first to consider herself as part of a team. She writes, “I had kept him [my husband] a bystander; I sought satisfaction in martyrdom. And I carried a grudge, too; it was difficult to acknowledge that this wasn’t solely my burden to bear, just because it was solely my abdomen…We would spend almost two more years sitting at our kitchen table, trying to make a baby. As I lost hope, I also relinquished my need to be a martyr. It became our struggle, our treatment.” You are a team, with different roles and responsibilities. Together you will get through this time in your life, too.
Connecting During IVF Treatments
Be ready for the emotional roller coaster
As you continue this journey toward parenthood, medical treatments, doctor appointments and schedules can quickly dominate your lives together. Recognize that you are both on an emotional roller coaster, too. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine describes it this way:
“Infertility often creates one of the most distressing life crises that a couple has ever experienced together. The long term inability to conceive a child can evoke significant feelings of loss. Coping with the multitude of medical decisions and the uncertainties that infertility brings can create great emotional upheaval for most couples.”
Knowing this is normal and that many couples experience feelings of grief, worry, frustration, sadness, hope and even joy. Take it day by day and check in with one another. If feelings of anxiety, depression or sadness become overwhelming, finding emotional support can give you both a sounding board and some relief. Support groups such as those offered by RESOLVE or finding a professional counselor can help you both, individually or together.
Find new ways to connect with each other
Intimacy is more than sex. There are times when physical intimacy might not be recommended, such as after egg collection, IVF, child birth or other medical procedures. Remember the power of holding their hand for the first time, giving hugs, massages and going on a walk together.
You can also offer support through love notes, little gifts like their favorite drink or treat. Do a task for them that they dislike. Clean the kitchen or their car, pick up the groceries. Show you care in the little moments.
Australian charity Centre of Perinatal Excellence (COPE) recommends creating “‘IVF-free’ evenings or days when talk about IVF is off-limits.” This simple practice can give couples the breathing room to step away from the IVF vortex. You all might consider getaways or a vacation between cycles to practice self-care for yourself and your relationship together.
Nurture your physical relationship
Going through IVF can definitely take the romance out of a couple’s sex life, but there are ways to lessen the stress and anxiety this new reality can bring. Trying to have intercourse on a schedule on the most optimal days and times can quickly transform a pleasurable experience into a transactional one. Find ways to reclaim your physical relationship and make it about connecting with your partner.
Schedule a date night
While we are still in a COVID-focused world and at home more often, take advantage of the time you both have available to connect one on one with your spouse or partner. Fun date night ideas:
Complete a home improvement project not related to a child.
Try a new hobby.
Go on an adventure, even if it is to a store or a local hiking trail.
Set time that is just for you two. There are so many wonderful ways that you can spend time with each other. This time is so precious. Here are even more date night ideas.
Remember to chat with each other
Communication is key. Being able to talk about insecurities, worries and fears are important as a couple. But it is also equally important to not drown your partner in conversations about infertility all of the time. You both may have different ways of processing the emotions you are feeling. One week you might not want to talk, or the opposite may be true. Creating a safe place to discuss how you’re feeling and how to make decisions together will help you have more empathy and compassion for one another. You may have many decisions to make together about treatment, finances, which friends and family to tell and more. Be ready to listen, compromise and help each other through the hard parts.
Going through infertility can yield positive benefits no matter the outcome. COPE reminds us that “Research studies have found the crisis of infertility can positively benefit relationships by forcing couples to be self-reflective and improve their communication, and it encourages partners to develop effective coping strategies together.” Coping and communication skills are the foundation of healthy relationships for the long-term.
Staying Connected After You Become Parents
For many couples, IVF is a solid path to parenthood. For other couples, they may need to build their family in other ways – such as with a surrogate or through adoption. Once you have a child/ren, your life as a couple is permanently changed and life will never be the same. Accept that. The journey you and partner have been on, with its joy, sorrow, excitement and hope has created expectations for life as parents. The transition from dream to reality may be a little rough, but here are some suggestions for connecting with your partner after you become parents.
Give yourselves some grace
The transition to parenthood can be tough for any new parent. Sometimes our expectations of how we think it will be don’t always match with reality and can cause misunderstandings. Have some grace. Both of you are caring for newborn. You are exhausted and will be that way for a while. The laundry, house and chores simply won’t be the same because your child’s needs will come first. Enjoy the precious moments you have together as a couple and with your child/ren.
Listen for each other’s needs and enlist support
Keep in touch and help each other through this transition. You may not have the personal space you are used to and the caregiving schedule can become overwhelming. Take turns and lean on each other. Enlist support to help you during the sleepless nights or with chores. Meal and grocery delivery services can make household chores easier. A friend can coordinate a meal calendar to allow many friends and family to provide meals to help you all during this time. Call on family or employ a night doula also called a baby nurse or night nurse to help you make it through those tough first few weeks and months as routines become established.
Reserve time to be a couple
Date night and couple time after a child is different. When you are able to have a family member or babysitter watch your child, get out of the house and go for a date (see date ideas above), even if it is a walk around the block. At-home date nights are a wonderful way to connect with your partner. Try a game night or movie night. Make a meal together. Get dressed up and enjoy a meal. Dance together or pick up a different hobby together. The important part is to make time for one another and practice self-care. Prioritizing your relationship and taking care of yourself and each other are wonderful habits to model for your child.
Infertility insurance is not a common coverage among the millions of families worldwide who have had children via IVF. While some traditional health plans will cover infertility diagnosis and treatment, the coverage is often incomplete. Many families are still paying out of pocket to cover the costs. And some decide to forgo having their own biological child, building a family in other ways.
Some companies offer fertility treatment benefits such as IUI and IVF, but it’s a small number as compared to the number of U.S. businesses (18,500) with 500 or more employees. ABC News reported, “Over 400 U.S. companies offer benefits for fertility treatments…[but] Even with some employers adding infertility benefits, the majority of IVF patients treated last year paid for all or some of their treatment out-of-pocket, according to Fertility IQ.”
Treatment for infertility has long been thought of as a women’s issue or a lifestyle choice for those who can afford it. Change is coming though. In 2017, the American Medical Association declared infertility a disease for the first time. For the world of insurance, this distinction makes a world of difference.
However, insurance as a industry is slow to change. Immediate past president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Dr. Richard J. Paulson explains that just 30 years ago “most insurance companies didn’t even cover obstetrics [childbirth]. It was all out of pocket.”
Why don’t employers offer infertility insurance?
One reason employers don’t offer infertility insurance is that is is too expensive. The cost of fertility treatments is still too high. To cover it would require insurance companies to raise the cost of health insurance premiums overall. Combine this with the escalating costs of healthcare and it is even less likely that employers will add infertility coverage in the future.
Another financial concern is that the cost of infertility treatments often incentivizes couples to seek higher risk treatments in the hopes of a quicker return. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advise against the transfer of multiple embryos during an IVF cycle for most women. They favor elective single-embryo transfer (eSET) using IVF, a type of Assisted Reproductive Technology, because of the risks of multiple birth, which can lead to much higher healthcare costs for patients and insurance companies.
Why can’t the states require fertility coverage?
Out of the 50 states, 18 have any type of required infertility coverage according to RESOLVE, a fertility advocacy nonprofit. Advocates from RESOLVE and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine are currently working in the hopes that states will be able to create/pass laws that mandate insurance coverage for infertility. This, however, will be a long road because even if states pass similar laws, like Delaware, which has one of the most comprehensive bills concerning infertility, not everyone would still have access to the same coverage.
State laws can only mandate or require that employers of a certain size and those with a certain type of insurance cover specific health benefits. Employers who are smaller and those are self-insured are exempt from state regulations. Only a federal law can require that infertility be covered, and the Affordable Care Act already does not consider it part of the Essential Healthcare Benefits.
How can I find insurance that covers fertility treatments?
Supplemental health insurance is designed to fill any coverage gaps left by a traditional health insurance plan. This insurance can cover a variety of conditions that your traditional plan does not cover or does not cover completely. Often supplemental health insurance plans cover eye care/glasses, dental care, hospitalization, accidents, major illnesses and other medical conditions, including infertility.
Where can I buy infertility insurance?
Infertility insurance is now available as a supplemental health policy for future families. At LifeSpring, we cover children today so that families of tomorrow don’t have to worry about what health insurance they have or who their future employer will be. They can have the freedom to be an entrepreneur or business owner without the worry of not having the financial resources to cover treatment for primary infertility.
Change is taking place in insurance and health care reform, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait to see what options your child or grandchild may or may not have access to. By covering children today, we can make coverage more affordable for many more families. It’s a fantastic way to preserve a family legacy by planning ahead. Learn more about LifeSpring’s innovative Primary Infertility Assistance Policy and see if it might be right for a Texas child in your life.
Whether you are a new parent, a soon-to-be empty nester or a grandparent, the desire to see your children flourish and grow will always be a part of your life. Trying to prepare your children for their future is a lifelong challenge. There is a balance of letting go. For instance, when they try to ride a bike without training wheels for the first time and pulling children back when they forget to watch for cars in a parking lot. No matter the age of your child or season of life, your role as a parent or grandparent brings its own challenges.
Your family’s legacy
Between teaching children valuable lessons and planning for their future, it is easy to get caught up with the hopes and dreams of their future families. Many of us wonder who our child’s future partner may be. We also wonder if we may become grandparents or great-grandparents one day.
Many of us would like to leave our family a legacy to help them long into the future. By making plans now, we can help prevent financial hardships caused by unexpected medical diagnoses like infertility.
Why choose infertility insurance?
No one knows if their child/grandchild or their future partner will be affected by infertility. Even now, there is still much that isn’t known about infertility and the causes of infertility.
What we do know is that infertility impacts 1 in 8 couples. The cost of infertility treatments is expensive. Cofertility, a blog that aims to inform and connect families dealing with infertility in a compassionate way, shares that pricing can vary from $800 for intrauterine insemination (IUI) to $8,000+ for IVF for just the basics. FertilityIQ documents how much IVF costs by city and region.
The fact is: High costs of treatment keep families from pursuing their own children. Cofertility published a survey that found that 86% of those undergoing infertility treatment said “they have forgone a fertility treatment option recommended by their doctor…due to cost.”
What about health insurance from your employer?
While we can’t predict who a future employer will be or even what type of healthcare insurance coverage our children will have access to, we can provide our children protection from the costs of infertility now.
Not only that, fertility treatments are generally not included in traditional healthcare coverage. Currently only about 26% of the top 500 employers provide any type of infertility coverage. This is mainly due to the high cost of infertility treatment.
A supplemental health policy/coverage, however, can fill the gaps and complement the health insurance your child may have in the future. It can pick up where other health coverage stops. It can give them the financial resources they need to treat infertility and pursue having their own biological children when they are ready.
Can a supplemental health policy cover infertility?
Yes. LifeSpring Insurance Services has a Primary Infertility Assistance Policy that provides an affordable insurance solution for infertility treatments in the future. Unlike a traditional health plan, LifeSpring’s innovative policy is geared towards children and their future. By providing coverage early in life, we can offer a one-time premium around $2,000 or less for a policy that provides $50,000 worth of benefits for your child and his or her partner. The policy is designed to cover infertility treatments, providing access to all of the common treatments from IVF, IUI, medicine and storage. This way couples can pursue their own child without the crippling costs that so often compromise their hope.
How can an insurance policy preserve my family’s legacy?
LifeSpring’s innovative supplemental health insurance policy, approved by the Texas Department of Insurance, was designed in the hopes of creating a future where children wouldn’t have to decide between a mortgage payment or fertility treatments. With a LifeSpring Insurance policy, you can give a gift that continues to give over time, one that will ensure that your family will have a lasting legacy.
Your desire to protect your children is part of what makes you a great mom, dad, grandma and grandpa. Family is one of the most precious parts of life. Consider the lasting impact you can have to preserve your family’s legacy by giving a LifeSpring policy today. Contact us if you have any questions