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Fertility Treatments and Health Insurance Choices: Consumer Q&A

By on March 25th, 2011
Filed: Advice, Cobra, Facts, Health Insurance

Imagine you’re going through fertility treatments – or ready to start them – and then you lose your health insurance coverage. What are your options? Do you put your treatments on hold, or purchase a new health insurance plan on your own to cover them?

Last week on Yahoo Answers we addressed a question posted by a woman in just that situation. She’d had employer-based health insurance but recently lost it – and she had an appointment coming up with her fertility doctor. She thought her old health plan would cover the cost of the treatments, but enrolling in COBRA to stay on that old employer plan would be prohibitively expensive. Could she buy a new plan between now and her upcoming appointment to cover the treatments?

Here’s the eHealthInsurance answer:

It’s true that COBRA can be expensive, but if your old plan covered infertility treatments, then it may be worth enrolling in COBRA (assuming you’re still eligible to do so) since infertility treatments are notoriously expensive. First make sure your old plan REALLY did cover infertility treatments – find out how much you would be expected to pay out of pocket and what the insurance company would cover. Carefully consider the dollar amounts, comparing what COBRA will cost you to what the infertility treatments will cost you out-of-pocket without insurance.

I recommend the above because the fact is that almost no health insurance plan you can buy on your own will cover infertility treatments. Very few employer-based plans cover it either.

That said, make sure you do get coverage one way or another, even if you can’t find a plan to cover infertility treatments. You definitely don’t want to go without coverage, especially if there’s some chance that you may get pregnant soon. Employer-sponsored plans will typically cover pregnancy, but not all privately-purchased plans. Work with a licensed agent, online or off, to see what’s available in your area.

Good luck!

Photo via Flickr user DorkyMum.

About Douglas Dalrymple

Doug Dalrymple is a member of the communications team at eHealth, Inc. and has worked in the health insurance and technology industries for fifteen years. He works on communications strategy, content creation and management, project management, and corporate messaging.

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