After making the big decision to try for a baby, not being able to conceive can be a very emotional experience. Finding out that you need fertility treatment may amplify these feelings, with the stress of how you’ll pay for treatment adding even more pressure.
The cost of fertility services can vary widely, depending on your clinic and the medications used in your treatment cycle. On average, one cycle can cost:
Although these numbers can be daunting, there’s good news: There are many ways to help make treatment more financially accessible, including insurance coverage, savings programs, and financing options.
You may have heard that insurance doesn’t usually cover infertility treatments, but that’s beginning to change. Many companies are recognizing the importance of fertility assistance and choosing plans that include treatment benefits. Where you live can also impact coverage—16 US states currently have certain insurance requirements in place for some infertility treatments*:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
*Coverage may vary by state. Please check with your insurance provider for details.
If your employer’s health plan doesn’t cover fertility treatments, you can talk to them about making a change. Read more about the Coverage at Work Initiative at resolve.org.
Know your plan
If you live in a state with infertility coverage laws, it’s still important to verify the type of plan your employer has. In some cases, your plan may not provide coverage. For example, some factors that may impact coverage include:
- The policy was written and/or resides in your state
Some out-of-state plans may not provide infertility treatment benefits
- You have a fully insured or self-insured plan
Some self-insured plans may be exempt from state laws
- Your company has enough employees to be required to provide coverage
Some states may allow exemptions for smaller companies
Contact your provider
Once you’ve verified that coverage exists, your insurance provider can help you understand your plan’s benefits and limitations, referral requirements, and whether preauthorization is necessary. It’s also important to confirm drug coverage for infertility medications.
Submitting a predetermination of benefit letter to your insurance company before treatment can give you a better idea of the costs you’ll be responsible for.
If you have questions about insurance coverage for fertility treatment, assistance is available. Call 1-866-LETS-TRY for support.
Medication savings programs
Some fertility drug manufacturers offer savings programs to help make treatment more affordable. Many people can benefit, including:
- Military personnel and their spouses
- Patients with no insurance coverage
Your fertility clinic can answer questions about the types of drugs they’ll prescribe for treatment. Program information can usually be found on the drug manufacturer’s website.
If you’re eligible for medication savings, you may only be able to have prescriptions filled at certain pharmacies. Because the same medication can vary in price dramatically, it’s important to verify participating pharmacies before having medication filled.
Clinic payment plans
Treatment clinics understand the financial hardships you are facing. Many offer affordable payment plans, have relationships with financing companies, and offer medication discounts.
Some clinics offer package pricing. These allow you to pay a discounted price upfront for a certain number of treatment cycles. You usually won’t receive money back if you’re successful on your first try, but some programs will offer a refund if you reach the end of your package without success.
Infertility loan programs
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association has compiled a comprehensive list of infertility financing programs. Some are now offering shared risk refunds and bundling options at reduced costs.
Grants and scholarships
For people who need help paying for infertility treatment, grants and scholarships are available from nonprofit organizations. Eligibility requirements and application deadlines must be met.
FSA, HSA, and HRA accounts
Your employer may offer special accounts to help you save on medical costs. These include:
- Flexible spending account (FSA)
FSAs can be used for certain out-of-pocket healthcare costs, including copays, deductibles, and some medications. Your employer may contribute, but is not required to. You may only defer $2,750 to your account each year.
- Health savings account (HSA)
These cover qualifying medical expenses, but can only be used with a high deductible health plan. Account contributions are capped at $3,550 for an individual, and $7,100 for a family. Funds in these accounts roll over each year.
- Health reimbursement account (HRA)
HRAs are funded by your employer. Qualifying medical expenses and reimbursement limits are also employer determined. Money in these accounts may be rolled over each year.
The money you defer to these accounts isn’t taxable, making them great cost-saving tools for treatment expenses.
Home equity loans
If there’s a good amount of equity in your home, using a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit may offer a way to fund treatment. Talk to a professional and shop around for the best rates.
Starting in 2019, you can deduct unreimbursed allowable medical care expenses for the year only if that amount exceeds 10% of your adjusted gross income. Ask your tax professional for details and keep accurate records of your paid expenses throughout the year.
4 other options that can help you save
Your bank or credit union may offer competitive rates for a personal loan, especially if you have some collateral to offer. Before taking out a loan, make sure you verify that IVF is eligible.
Depending on your situation, you may be able to take a loan or a medical hardship withdrawal from your 401(k) savings. There may or may not be tax penalties. Talk to your tax professional or financial planner about the implications of this option.
Zero-interest credit card
Using interest-free credit at the time of initial treatment allows you to spread your payments out over several months. To avoid penalties and interest, look for a card with a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) for at least 12 months and make every attempt to pay the balance before the interest is due.
Friends and family may be willing to help you take a step toward parenthood. GoFundMe is currently hosting over 5,000 campaigns for IVF funding. Websites like Deposit a Gift can help you create a fundraising page that tells your personal story. Online campaigns can help motivate others to support your journey to build a family.
You may qualify for medication savings if you’re using certain fertility drugs.