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Archive for the ‘Financing infertility treatment’ Category

Important Infertility Insurance Coverage Issues for the LGBT Community in New York

By Tracey Minella

June 22nd, 2017 at 8:31 am

From Stonewall to date, the LGBT community has always had to fight for rights equal to those of the heterosexual community, often in an atmosphere of “us against them”. Persistence has always paid off…eventually. As we’ve seen from winning battles on openly serving in the military with the repeal of “Don’t ask. Don’t tell” and the legalization of same-sex marriage (#LoveWins), we can move mountains as a community united.

 

The latest major gay rights fight involves insurance coverage for infertility treatment in New York.

 

The subject of mandated infertility insurance coverage in New York State has been in the news lately, but before addressing an important pending bill that could positively impact the infertility insurance rights of all New Yorkers– heterosexual and non-heterosexual– we must examine and understand the existing obstacles to LGBT infertility treatment coverage.

 

Currently, New York State has a mandate which requires coverage for infertility treatments. It’s one of only 15 states to do so, which sounds promising, but it’s not. With so many existing definitions, restrictions, qualifications, and loopholes, the mandate in its current form does very little to benefit New York’s infertile heterosexual couples– and does even less for non-heterosexual couples or single women who need advanced reproductive technologies in order to start their families.

 

Some of the major problems with the current New York State infertility coverage mandate include:

 

  • It does not cover in vitro fertilization (“IVF”), but only applies to intrauterine inseminations (“IUIs) and other low-level/less successful infertility treatments, which are also riskier in terms of causing a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.);
  • Small group employers can opt out of having to provide this coverage;
  • Insurance carriers may impose certain restrictions and rules that impact the employees’ ability to access the benefits.

 

Some insurance carriers that do offer IVF require both heterosexual and non-heterosexual couples to undergo 6-12 unsuccessful IUI cycles before moving on to IVF treatment (6 IUIs if the woman is over 35, or 12 IUIs if under 35, though some require less).

 

In addition to the above multiple-failed-IUIs prerequisite for IVF coverage, the employee must satisfy the insurance carrier’s definition of “infertility”. “Insurance companies define ‘infertility’ as the inability to conceive after one year of frequent, unprotected heterosexual intercourse, or six months if patient is over the age of 35″.

 

Applying this definition to heterosexual couples merely costs them 6-12 months of time before moving onto IVF treatment—provided they can somehow prove they’re doing it often enough and without protection. And while up to a year of time wasted really is a big deal to all infertile folks, the impact on non-heterosexuals and single women is far worse.

 

When applying this definition to a same-sex couple or a single woman, they not only lose valuable time, but they also lose money that a heterosexual couple would not. Because for same-sex couples or single women to meet the current definition of “infertility”, they would have to undergo six or 12 months of IUI with donor sperm treatments — in many cases, at their own expense –just to prove their infertility so that they could qualify for covered infertility treatments.

 

This issue was thrust into public view when two lesbian couples in New Jersey filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the language of the New Jersey insurance mandate “discriminates based on sex and sexual orientation”.

 

There is also disparity among insurance companies with respect to requiring authorizations for IUIs, requiring IUIs with donor sperm prior to approving infertility treatment, and coverage for the cost of donor sperm or thawing the sperm. In addition, companies offer different levels of coverage, which may be dependent upon copayments, deductibles and other restrictions on certain services like embryo cryopreservation, embryo storage, Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis or Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (“PGD” or “PGS”) of embryos, and more. To further complicate matters, even within the same insurance company, there are different individual plans that are chosen by the employer which provide different benefits coverage and different qualifications or benefits structure.

 

That’s why Long Island IVF assigns each patient a personal financial counselor to help guide them through the complicated insurance process to maximize any benefits to which they may be entitled.

 

Despite the obstacles that currently exist, there is good news to report and even more promising change on the horizon.

 

As a result of New York Governor Cuomo’s mandate to New York State insurance companies, they may no longer exclude same-sex prospective parents or single prospective parents from infertility coverage. While this is a victory, the sticking point for true reform and open access to appropriate infertility coverage for both heterosexual and non-heterosexual patients requires a redefinition of “infertility” and direct access to IVF.

 

There have already been noticeable changes in policies and the provision of coverage for IUIs with donor sperm in same-sex couples, presumably collectively-driven by Gov. Cuomo’s mandate, along with the New Jersey lawsuit, and forward-thinking, large-scale employers like Facebook and Google now offering high-end infertility insurance coverage for egg-freezing services. But the bottom line is that until a patient meets the “infertility” definition, they still have to self-pay.

 

That’s why we need the definition of ‘infertility’ to change. And we need access to IVF, which is the more successful treatment in terms of a singleton birth outcome.

 

And it is within our grasp right now.

 

As this article is being written, a bill that would revolutionize the infertility insurance law in New York for the benefit of heterosexuals, same-sex couples, and single women is awaiting consideration by the Senate after having passed in the Assembly this week.

 

The Senate Bill S.3148A known as the “Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act”, or (“FAFTA”), if enacted, would not only mandate coverage for IVF treatment, but it would change the application of the definition of “infertility” to:

 

“a disease or condition characterized by the incapacity to impregnate another person or to conceive, as diagnosed or determined (I) by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state, or (II) by the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse in the case of a female 35 years of age or older.”

 

According to Long Island IVF co-founder and reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, who has been advocating for the passage of the FAFTA bill, “the current mandate’s specific exclusion of coverage for IVF has resulted in much emotional and financial cost spent on inferior or inappropriate treatments which ARE covered by the mandate when, for over 50% of infertile couples, IVF was the best or only treatment.” He further notes that “IVF is far safer in terms of reducing multiple pregnancy risk than less successful and often inferior treatments like ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination (IUI). There has been waste and needless sacrifice for insured couples denied IVF.”

 

It is time for both the heterosexual and the LGBT communities to get active and push our respective representatives to pass this legislation. You can find your local senator here or can access their phone number here. Armed with Senate Bill number S. 3148A, a simple phone call expressing your support of the bill may make all the difference. It takes less than one minute to help support this latest gay rights fight for fair access to appropriate infertility treatment and insurance coverage. Do it now.

 

There has never been a better time for non-heterosexuals to fulfill their dream of parenthood. If you would like more information on the many available LGBT family-building options, we encourage you to join Long Island IVF and our partner, The LGBT Network, on June 29, 2017 for a special free seminar entitled “Building Families in the LGBT Community”. Pre-register here.

 

This progressive legislation not only opens the door to IVF access for all, but it changes the definition of infertility to one that encompasses everyone, regardless of sex or sexual orientation. Instead of “us against them” it’s “one for all”. Its passage would put everybody suffering from the disease of infertility one giant step closer to our common dream of parenthood– and maybe, just maybe, a step closer to us all being one united community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Ways to Help Finance IVF Treatment

By Tracey Minella

December 17th, 2016 at 1:32 pm

 

image credit: wpclipart

 

Time flies when you’re having fun—or not. Ever notice how fast did your #1 holiday wish list item morphed from a bicycle into an IVF cycle?

 

With a price tag to challenge most budgets, IVF can be hard on a partner’s wallet. So if no one checked that item off your list this year, maybe thinking outside the box is in order.

 

1.    Fertility Grants and Creative/Discounted IVF Payment Packages.

 

Long Island IVF offers many different payment options, bundle plans, IVF grants, DOH grants and exclusive Jade Foundation grant programs, and IVF share refund programs to help their patients with the financial end of their fertility journey. Like a guidance counselor helps a student, the staff is trained to guide you through the maze of available options when planning to finance your family-building plan. You may have more options than you realize. Check it out.

 

2.     Free/Discounted IVF Opportunities.

 

As you may expect, these opportunities are hard to come by, but they are out there.  Some contests allow winners to choose their own fertility clinic for treatment. We pass this information along as we find it, so it pays to follow our blog and like us on Facebook.

 

3.     On-line Fertility Treatment Fundraiser.

 

If you are not keeping your infertility secret, this option is great for those with the right mix of friends and families…or faith in the kindness of strangers. Of course, some people you approach may be uncomfortable with the idea, so prepare yourself for the critics, too. But others are probably so happy to have a chance to help you. GoFundMe* crowd-funding accounts are wildly popular now among those hoping to raise funds for infertility treatment. In fact, some couples request contributions to these fertility treatment accounts in lieu of registering for traditional wedding or shower gifts.

 

 

 

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Have these suggestions been helpful? Do you have any suggestions to add? Have you tried or will you consider any of these tips?

 

 

 

*Disclaimer: Long Island IVF  does  not endorse this or any other fundraising site, and are providing this link for informational purposes only.

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Infertility and Powerball Dreams

By Tracey Minella

January 12th, 2016 at 3:19 pm

 

Photo credit: Mister GC/ freedigitalphotos.net


If I had $100 for every infertile woman or couple out there who is dreaming that the Powerball win could fund their fertility treatment, well… I’d be almost as rich as the eventual lucky winner.

Imagine what you’d do with that record-crushing fortune. You could aggressively pursue your fertility treatment, including some options that might currently be out of your financial reach. You could pursue adoption, or maybe surrogacy. Even do it all simultaneously! Imagine not having the financial stress on top of the stress of trying to conceive.

If I couldn’t claim the big prize, here’s what I’d like to say to the billionaire Powerball Winner:

You’ve just won more money than one person could spend in a lifetime and I’m sure you want to do some good in this world. After you have taken care of yourself and your friends and family, and are considering how to spend and invest the rest, please think of the infertile people who need your help and start a charitable foundation to help them become parents.

Yachts, trips, mansions, sports teams…they are all great fun and smart investments of time and money. But answering prayers and creating life? That’s truly priceless stuff. And fate has granted you the extraordinary means to do just that. Look at your parents. Look at your children. That kind of love is at stake. Please use your power to grow it.

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What would you do if you won? How would it affect your infertility journey and your future plans?

 

 

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Win a Free IVF Cycle Door Prize at Long Island IVF Event: Final 3 Day Promo!

By Tracey Minella

May 19th, 2015 at 3:21 pm

Forget the Memorial Day weekend grocery list! Step away from the barbeque.

You’ve got a more urgent matter to address before the weekend festivities begin.

Are you listening?

I’m making you an offer you can’t refuse. Seriously. You can’t.

Picture this: Only $25 for a chance to win a Free IVF cycle door prize worth approximately $10,000 plus a guaranteed fabulous night out at the Great South Bay Brewery on Thursday June 4th filled with music, food, craft beer sampling, brewery tours, souvenir glasses, and a silent auction.

The free IVF cycle door prize is transferable, so those who need it should bring down all their friends and family to help increase their odds. Don’t need the IVF cycle yourself? You probably know someone who does. Just love beer? Perfect. This night is for you, too. So be a hero while raising money to help infertile couples build their families.

Can you even wrap your head around the idea of all you’re getting for only $25? You can’t even go to the movies for that!

The catch, you ask?

YOU HAVE TO ACT FAST. As in tomorrow, Thursday, or Friday.

In what can only be categorized as a moment of heartfelt compassion…or extreme patriotism… or complete insanity…the organizers of Long Island’s Brew for the Family event have decided to offer a FINAL pre-Memorial Day promotion in an effort to be sure everyone who would love the chance to win the Free IVF cycle door prize could afford a ticket.

So from tomorrow (May 20) through midnight on Friday May 22, 2015, you can purchase a regular $55 ticket for only $25!!!! Crazy, right??! Sure, it’s a bargain at $55, but why not take advantage at this steal of a price?!

Purchase your tickets right here:

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/long-island-brew-for-the-family-hosted-by-long-island-ivf-tickets-15203780918

So what’s it going to be? Crying in your beer this weekend because you didn’t take advantage of this amazing opportunity…or raising a glass to hope and possibility?

Don’t miss this chance.

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Are you going to go to Long Island Brew for the Family?

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Long Island IVF Exclusive: The Jade Foundation IVF Grant

By Tracey Minella

April 13th, 2015 at 8:55 pm

 

photo: stuart miles/ freedigitalphotos.net


To say it’s a struggle to pay for IVF while meeting the high cost of living on Long Island is an understatement. It can take some couples without IVF medical coverage a few years to save up for an IVF cycle…ever aware of the ticking biological clock.

Extreme, long-term sacrifices are made. A dream is put on hold. Everyone else is pregnant.

It’s enough to make a couple, well, jaded.

But sometimes, “jaded” can be a good thing…

Long Island IVF is pleased to announce the availability of yet another IVF grant…the Jade Foundation IVF Grant…to help suffering infertile couples build their families.

Through an endowment from generous benefactors, the Jade Foundation IVF Grant was created for and is offered exclusively at Long Island IVF. It is funded to provide financial assistance to couples who lack insurance coverage to meet the IVF cycle expenses needed to build the family of their dreams.  Qualified patients will pay a cost share amount (their out-of-pocket expense) based on total household income level.

Funding through this grant program will be allocated for basic services related to an IVF fresh cycle (and exclude other types of treatment cycles such as: frozen cycles, egg donation cycles, surrogacy cycles, elective egg freezing cycles as well as the more complex embryology services such as preimplantation genetic diagnosis or screening (PGD /PGS ). Priority is given to first time parents and to those who have served or are currently serving in the US military.

Eligibility: In order to be eligible, applicants must:

  • be less than 35 years of age;
  • have documented infertility;
  • meet clinical criteria;
  • be residents of Long Island, Queens or Brooklyn; and
  • have a combined household income between $50,000 and $99,999 annually; and
  • have commercial medical insurance coverage which either does not cover IVF treatments or for which they have exhausted their benefits.

Application Process: If new to our practice, interested patients should contact the Long Island New Patient Counselor at (631) 752-0606. Patients who are already in treatment with us should contact their Long Island IVF Financial Counselor to learn more about this grant.  Although there is no required application form, applicants must submit proof of residency and income. Grant awards are contingent upon grant funding availability. Unlike loans, the funds provided to couples through this Jade Foundation IVF Grant program do not have to be paid back.

Just a point of clarification…

The Jade Foundation IVF Grant is exclusively available at and through Long Island IVF. It should not be confused with the Cade Foundation’s IVF grants, which are also wonderful opportunities for infertile folks nationwide to build their families. That said, please see below for news on how you can have a great night out and also qualify to win a Free IVF cycle door prize donated by Long Island IVF in its “Brew For The Family” event on June 4th, co-sponsored by Cade. (Confusing, right?) But it’s all good stuff.

Whether you go for Jade, or Cade, or both, we look forward to seeing you soon.

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Have you ever considered applying for an IVF grant to pay for some or all of the costs of treatment?

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Long Island “Brew For the Family” Event- June 4, 2015

Would winning a FREE IVF Cycle door prize help you or a loved one build a family?

Join us on Thursday, June 4th, 2015 from 7:30-10PM at the Long Island Brew for the Family event hosted in partnership with the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation.

We have come together to spread the message that infertility can be overcome! Enjoy a night out and forget the stress of infertility as we sample craft beers at one of Long Island’s premier microbreweries, The Great South Bay Brewery. The evening will include a sampling of 6 beers, guided brewery tours with a master brewer, great food, music, and a silent auction.

Each admission ticket will include one entry into the drawing for a FREE IVF CYCLE* door prize. Be sure to invite your family and friends for even more chances to win, as the prize is transferrable.

To purchase tickets and learn more about this event please visit: www.librewforthefamily.eventbrite.com.

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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 contest.

We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 27 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help.

 

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Long Island IVF Announces Brew for the Family Event!

By Tracey Minella

April 10th, 2015 at 5:51 pm

Would winning a free IVF cycle make a difference in your life or the life of someone you know?

Has the stress of infertility and the depression that often comes with it caused you and your partner to withdraw from social situations? Are you slipping away from your friends and family because you just don’t feel like going out? Are date nights few and far between?

Well, we’re going to change that. At least for one special night in June.

Long Island IVF has again partnered with the Cade Foundation’s  to bring you another first of its kind event….Brew for the Family …and it’s coming this summer on Thursday, June 4, 2015 from 7:30-10:00 pm at the Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore, N.Y.

Each attendee will have a chance to win a great door prize: A FREE IVF CYCLE donated by Long Island IVF*.

Let me repeat that. Every attendee has a chance to win that free IVF cycle door prize (and VIP ticket holders will have two chances!). So gather all your friends and family…you know, all those folks who love you and have been saying how they wish they could help you in some way…and come out for a fun night at the brewery. If they win the free IVF cycle prize, they can transfer it to YOU!

In addition to giving one lucky winner the chance to have a baby, we’re out to have a fun night at one of Long Island’s premier microbreweries and spread the message the infertility can be overcome!  All attendees will enjoy beer sampling, a brewery tour, a souvenir glass, tons of great food, music, and a silent auction. In addition to all that, VIP ticket holders will also enjoy additional beer samplings, a private guided brewery tour with a master brewer, access to the VIP lounge, and a second ticket for the IVF cycle door prize.

The three (3) different ticket options are as follows:

 

Regular Tickets $55.00   

Ticket includes entrance to the event, 6 beer tastings, private tour and a single entry into the drawing for the free IVF cycle door prize.

 

Date Night Package  $100.00  Ticket includes entrance for two into the event, 6 beer tastings each, brewery tour, and TWO entries into the drawing for a free IVF cycle door prize.

 

VIP Ticket  $90.00   Ticket includes entrance for one into the event, sampling of 9 craft beers, private guided brewery tour by a master brewer, commemorative souvenir glass, access to the VIP lounge, a beer themed gift bag, and TWO entries into the drawing for a free IVF cycle door prize.

 

Last year, we brought you Dancing for the Family, which was a ton of fun. Now we’re changing it up and going for the suds! So raise a glass (or up to six) and forget infertility for the night. Non-alcoholic options available, too, of course!

Remember: The coveted door prize is even transferable once*, so encourage your generous friends and family… who may not personally need the Free IVF cycle… to join you at this special event to help increase your odds of winning.

Why not make it a party! Share this event with your friends and bring your own crowd! Who wouldn’t like a night at the brewery?!

While we wish every attendee could win the free IVF cycle, and there’s bound to be disappointment among those who don’t win it, we hope you’ll leave with an overall feeling of satisfaction for being part of this ground-breaking event, since all proceeds raised will enable the Tinina Q. Cade Foundation to offer education-based programming and Family-Building grants to help people overcome infertility. All attendees are strongly encouraged to learn more about the great work the Cade Foundation does and to apply for one of their Family Building Grants for up to $10,000 in financial assistance to pursue fertility treatment or adoption. Visit their website at www.cadefoundation.org. Oftentimes, there are more grants to give away than people who apply for assistance, so be sure to check it out. The application process is easy.

To purchase tickets and learn more about this event please visit: www.librewforthefamily.eventbrite.com.

A portion of each ticket may be tax deductible. See details on the Eventbrite link. Don’t delay. Tickets are first-come, first-served. Click the link and reserve your spot today! Go on. Click. Now.

Someone will win that free IVF cycle*.

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Will you be coming to the event?

 

*See Long Island IVF website and eventbrite ticket purchase site for full details, rules, and restrictions. You must be present at the event to win the IVF cycle door prize.

 

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To Single Embryo Transfer (or Not to)?: That is the Question

By Tracey Minella

February 11th, 2015 at 12:24 pm

 

Credit: stockimages/ freedigitalphotos.net


One of the hardest parts of undergoing in vitro fertilization is the difficult decision of how many embryos to transfer back…because each embryo transferred has the potential to implant and develop into a baby.

In the 1980s when IVF was new and success rates were understandably low, it was common to transfer as many as 6 embryos back. Even then, many women did not conceive. Others conceived multiple pregnancies. Still others conceived only one.

Happily, today the technology has been dramatically fine-tuned, resulting in much higher IVF success rates and, because fewer embryos are being transferred, fewer multiple pregnancies.

Some women can’t or don’t want to have a multiple pregnancy and are interested in a program that virtually eliminates the risk of more than a singleton pregnancy. Some of their reasons include possible health risks for the mother or babies, concerns over the higher costs of raising multiples, or the fear of being placed on bed rest and its potential financial impact.

On the other hand, because IVF can be expensive and often not covered by insurance, and because the couples attempting it may have already been trying to conceive for a long time with and without medical assistance and expense, it’s tempting to want to “put all your eggs in one basket”. These couples want to transfer a higher number of embryos back to maximize their chance of conceiving in that one cycle or because they can’t afford to do more cycles. Many couples think of the possibility of twins as a bonus. Two-for-one. Instant family. Dream come true.

But if the financial burden was lessened, and the odds of a live birth from transferring one embryo were nearly comparable to the odds for transferring more, would that make a difference to you? Would you opt for the statistically safer singleton pregnancy vs. the statistically riskier multiple pregnancy? Would you really prefer a multiple pregnancy or would you rather have a succession of singleton pregnancies, the way you originally planned before infertility entered your life?

Deep, emotionally-charged decision. No right answer. Just the right answer for you.

Some good news that may affect your decision is 20-year study of 92,000 patients from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, recently published in the on-line Oxford Journal, Human Reproduction, on January 21, 2015. The Nordic study found that the health of children born from IVF has significantly improved and that the risks of pre-term or severely pre-term births have declined dramatically…and it’s primarily due to transferring just one embryo. In addition, the stillborn and infant death rate for singletons and twins born through IVF has declined. http://bit.ly/1Ejgg1o

For those interested, Long Island IVF has a well-established Elective Single Embryo Transfer Program with success rates comparable to traditional IVF in select patients. If you elect to transfer one embryo in your fresh cycle you get free cryopreservation of your embryos and free storage for six months or until a live birth occurs. As an additional incentive to motivate patients to make safer choices, we offer patients transferring a single embryo during their fresh stimulation cycle up to three frozen embryo transfers, within a year of their retrieval or until a live birth occurs, for the price of one. For more details and information on whether SET may be right for you, visit http://www.longislandivf.com/single_embryo_transfer.cfm or ask your LIIVF physician.

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What did/would you consider when deciding how many embryos to transfer? Is the elective SET program something you did/would consider? Why or why not?

 

 

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