HMO

Rest Assured: You've Got (Infertility) Insurance (Thursday)

(Start with "Monday" if you can.  You can slack off today anyway. Nobody really expects anyone to do any work the week before a holiday. Or the week after. Or between Thanksgiving and New Year's... Or those last two weeks in July... Or whenever else we just can't be bothered....And hey, if you'd like some more insider info etc about Laughing Is Conceivable please become a subscriber...please...please) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The great medical coverage my company's insurance carrier offered for my fertility treatments. Okay, it wasn't really great. It was more like: "Get out of our office before we throw you off the insurance altogether, you infertile fool."

So, I took the matter up with our company's Human Resources: "Do you think we could get a health plan that would cover some of my infertility treatments?: Drugs, tests, ice for my butt injections, anything?" 

To which they responded: 

"No, but if you have some annual leave time, you can go to your doctors' appointments without getting fired."

I often wonder why someone came up with the name: "Human Resources".  It certainly didn't fit this group of broads at all. I guess "The Humane Society" was already taken.

I find it interesting that only fifteen states in the U.S. require insurance carriers to cover at least some infertility-related costs. And even with those states... You could drive a truck-load of us through the loopholes.

 A lot of states, like California for instance, have a clause that goes  something like this:  

  • Requires group insurers to offer coverage of infertility treatment... Employers may choose whether or not to include infertility coverage as part of their employee health benefit package.
  • Okay, well that doesn't sound too hard for your employer to get out of. I'm sure my lovely HR ladies meeting with the prospective insurance carrier went something like this: 

    "Ladies, if you want the basic package it will cost your company eight dollars a year per employee. If you'd like to add coverage for infertility treatments then the rate goes up slightly to $9700 a year per employee."

    I could see the HR women contemplating this:

    "Well, that seems like a sexual issue and none of us has had any interest in sex since the '80's... and we were hired to save the company money... yeah I think we'll just go for the eight dollar one where you only get an ambulance if you're unconscious or have lost more than half of your bodily fluids." I could see them equipping the ambulance driver with a dipstick to verify the latter. 

    And, incidentally, California (at least as of the report I read from 2009) doesn't require IVF coverage at all.

    Hawaii, like many states, does require coverage of one IVF cycle if cheaper forms of ART have been tried.  But, get this, (loophole alert!) you have to have had at least a five year history of infertility to get treatments covered.

    I consider myself to be a fairly honest person, but, honestly, I would lie my ovaries off on that one. We were each nearly forty when we got married. So, we're supposed to touch touch kiss kiss and sit around until I'm like pushing forty-five before we hula off to the fertility clinic?

    Several states like Louisiana allow you to get diagnosed and receive medical treatment for things that may be affecting your fertility, but once a doctor says the actual word "infertility"...the next words you'll hear will be: "And by the way, we take cash, checks, and most major credit cards."

    So if the surgeon is mid-surgery cutting a few feet off my colon: "Clamp. Scissors, Neosporin. Oh wait, this looks like it could result in infertility. Okay, gang--Roll it up and shove it back in."

    Listen, I gotta go. I'm almost done making my insurance picks for next year. Should I get the optical coverage and have the freedom of picking out one of the three approved frames or should I just go it alone?

    I'll talk with ya again tomorrw.

    Rest Assured: You've Got (Infertility) Insurance (Monday)

    People in Denmark are apparently tripping over each other in a mad rush to get to fertility clinics. At the moment, fertility treatments are free of charge: Part of the Danish healthcare system. In January, goodbye and good luck. No more free. That unfortunate beautiful country must look like a one day sale at Macy's on December 23rd... or even worse.  Now that we're heavily into November and the "Buy one IVF get the second one... and the first one... free" deal  is about to expire in Denmark in a mere month and a half  (Merry Christmas and a Happy New year), I'm envisioning the one and only consignment sale I ever attended. Shoot me. Never again.

    My husband and I walked in holding in our hands nothing but each other's hand. How naive we were.

    People (mostly women I must say) came rushing in with boxes, containers, tubs... anything that could hold and transport  massive quantitites of other people's crap.  The doors opened at seven. And they're off!

    These people came crashing through as though they were running into a burning building to corral their children and pets, cram them into the tub and whisk them away to safety.

    One woman pushed past me. She had just cleared off an entire rack, sight unseen, and was hurriedly transporting the entire mess to a safe haven: A private spot on the hallway floor nestled between a water fountain and the toilets. Here she could scrutinize each item to see whether she actually wanted to purchase it or generously leave it in a heap on the floor under the dripping fountain for someone else to sift through.

    As I strolled over to the water fountain, I turned it on, took a sip, letting it run over as I spoke to the hoarder on the floor below: "I'm from New York. Believe me. If I wanted that MF shirt. I'd have that MF shirt."

     (Feel free to think "MF" is a rap star turned shirt designer if you like".) 

    Anyway, all I'm saying is: I hope Denmark, because of a change in law and the urgency of the infertile, isn't turning into one big, obnoxious, desperate mess of a consignment sale. Their biggest fertility center usually has to turn away about twenty percent of its prospective patients because they can't handle the demand. Now it's up to forty-five percent. Anybody who applies now will probably be out of luck for the free care. 

    I was outraged to hear that the treatments, come January, will start at two thousand Kroner. Until I did the exchange rate and realized it was $367.87  in U.S. dollars. But of course the prices only go up from there.

    Still, I can't think of anything during my fertility treatments that cost $367.87. Maybe the consultation.

    So this week we're going to take a look at insurance coverage here in the U.S. as it affects infertility diagnosis and treatments. Only fifteen states presently require any coverage... and you might be surprised at the vague and sometimes peculiar criteria. We'll discuss...

    Listen, I gotta go. It's open enrollment time for the company health insurance and I have to decide whether I should have dental coverage or  pay my mortgage. At least if I decide on the dental coverage, I won't be the stereotypical homeless person with no teeth.

    I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.