Women’s Healthcare and Politics
Women’s healthcare has played a central role in the political debates this year. Although political and personal positions on this topic vary greatly, there is no debate on the lack of insurance coverage for infertility treatment. There are currently just 15 States that have laws mandating private insurers to either cover, or offer, some type of coverage for infertility treatment. The level of coverage can vary significantly from State to State and insurer to insurer. Even in Massachusetts, which was the first State in the U.S. to pass a law to cover infertility in 1987, there are many patients with limited or no coverage for treatment of infertility. While healthcare reform and the Affordable Care Act have been politically charged topics, new legislation mandating insurance coverage for infertility has receive little attention at the Federal level. Unfortunately, even new legislation at the State level has been limited, with Connecticut being the last State to pass a law mandating private insurers to cover infertility in 2005.
For patients without insurance coverage, the prices charged for IVF services vary between regions of the country, individual states and even within the same city. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the average cost of IVF in the United States is $12,400 for a single IVF cycle (excluding medications). The Fertility Centers of New England offers free initial consults for patients without insurance coverage and charges $6,800 per cycle, excluding fertility medications. At the Fertility Centers of New England, we have found that the average number of IVF cycles needed to achieve a successful pregnancy is approximately 1.5 depending on a woman’s age and other medical variables. In women over 38 years of age, more than two IVF cycles may be needed to achieve a successful pregnancy. In order to help patients with the cost of infertility treatment, our IVF Assist program offers self pay patients a free third IVF cycle. That means at the Fertility Centers of New England, three cycles of IVF cost $13,600 – a significant savings compared to the cost of three cycles using the American Society of Reproductive Medicine estimates ($37,800 for 3 cycles).
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