February 12, 2014

The Financial Stress of IVF

There's no point in sugar coating this. IVF is expensive. And if you're like us, and your insurance doesn't provide any coverage for the procedure, it is monumentally expensive. At a time when you are trying to stay relaxed, being stressed about money can be overwhelming.

Yesterday, I hit overwhelmed.

Our overall cost for IVF, not including medications and whatever insurance does not cover in regards to blood work, is over $9,000. This is after an over $1000 discount from our clinic because I am a full time teacher.

We decided to cover that cost by pulling most of it out of our 401K which allowed for the use of a set amount for "non-insurance covered medical expenses." We had to send in paperwork describing the procedures and the total cost and have it signed by the doctor's office. This was faxed to the financial institution along with a pile of paperwork my husband had to fill out.

And it was denied....

...The first time. Apparently we included too much detail. Luckily, the office manager at our fertility clinic is wonderful, and she sat with us and typed out a letter that included just the very basics, the overall cost, the due date for the fees (technically past due at that point), the doctor's signature, and our information.

This time it was approved and a check arrived in the mail this week. Unfortunately, only half of the deposit has cleared in time for when our payment is due, so we will have to do some finagling to make sure that we can pay the whole thing at once.

In addition to that, I need to order my next set of meds. My first set-- the lupron, dexamethasone, and syringes-- came to about $130 total. Insurance covered $ .85 of that cost. Yes, that's correct; less than a dollar (I laughed when I read that on the receipt. My mother got angry when I told her). The birth control I was on also cost us another $50 after insurance coverage.

Unfortunately, I have no idea how much my next two meds, Gonal-F and menopur, will cost. I think they will total to almost $2500. Due today.
---Edit: After writing this, I found out that we were not approved for a discount we applied for, but because of this and our lack of insurance coverage, the nurse switched me from Gonal-F to follistim, a cheaper med, bringing our total just under $2000. Phew! God is good.---

Paying for IVF is stressful. With the Lord's help, we are going to be able to make it work, but I am overwhelmed. And that's normal. Which is the point of this post.

It is normal to feel overwhelmed by the cost of this undertaking.
It is normal to feel frustrated that you have to spend thousands of dollars to get pregnant, when other people can do it "accidentally."
It is normal to be angry about insurance not helping with the cost.
It is normal to feel like you have no control over the whole situation.


Which reminds me, I had a dream last night that I did not need a psychiatrist to be able to interpret (I've been watching a lot of Frasier lately :o)). I dreamed that I was driving a car, but because of salt on my windshield and darkness, etc., I couldn't see the road. I tried to stop and crashed the car into a small tree, waking my passengers, Steve and my sister Katie. Steve couldn't understand why I was having a hard time seeing when he could see so clearly.

My interpretation? I'm feeling like I have no control over what happens next and no way to see what comes next. I especially feel like I have no control over our finances which stresses me out. Steve, on the other hand, sees money as "just money." We should use it wisely, but it is just an earthly thing, so why stress over it?

Clearly, Steve has a healthier way of looking at it, and I'm so thankful that at least one of us can stay level-headed. Last night, Steve knew that I needed to get out of the house in order to kind of walk away from some of that stress and panic. We tried to get milkshakes at a local pizza place, but they were out of ice cream, so we ended up getting a burger and a cheese steak at a place called Petey's Eateys. It's the little things that count.

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