I know I’m starting this blog in the middle of the story, but I wanted to say now, because it’s all happening now, that there are going to be setbacks.
We’ve already had one FET, and it ended in a miscarriage. But everything up to that point was roses, because a) we lived in the area where our fertility clinic was located, and b) our insurance didn’t cover fertility treatment.
I know what you’re thinking: insurance doesn’t cover it and it was all roses? Yes, because I didn’t have to deal with the insurance company at all. Insurance companies don’t want to pay for anything, or they want you to use their pharmacy. And their pharmacy won’t complete an order unless it meets their corporate guidelines (ei, no half doses, or partial doses), even though the pharmacy is a) not your doctor, and b) unaware of your diagnosis or situation.
So now we have insurance coverage because we moved North (apparently, in the South infertility is not a medical issue that insurances have to cover). So we have to deal with the insurance company telling us that our doctor’s orders are wrong, which means that every time we have to place a partial order, we have to explain our HIPAA-protected health information to someone who isn’t a doctor and honestly doesn’t need the information to fulfill the order. They have a valid script from a licensed physician. DO YOUR JOB AND FULFILL THE SCRIPT. Don’t tell me (or my wife who is already an emotional wreck from the constant medically-induced fluctuation in her hormone levels) that the orders are wrong for a pregnant woman. YOU ARE NOT A DOCTOR. I actually had to tell the pharmacist to keep his medical opinions to himself.
I know that trying to pay out-of-pocket for fertility treatment is its own challenge. But I have to tell you, once you make that decision and have the cash to pay, it greases the wheel of dealing with pharmacies and doctor’s offices.
Here’s the other SUPER frustrating setback we keep beating our heads against a wall with: our fertility clinic is in the South, and we live in the North. Not just in the North, but in New York City. You can practically throw a rock and hit a medical center with fertility treatment centers. The frustration is that NONE of them want your money if you are not THEIR patient. I come from the business world, and healthcare institutions boggle my mind.
We need an ultrasound, and we’re around 7 weeks. Our OB won’t do it because the RN answering the phone says you can’t detect a heartbeat at 7 weeks. BUT YOU CAN. We did it during our first FET. So we call around to the other fertility clinics in the city, and they won’t do any monitoring for individuals who are not their patients. So that means they are turning down money. In what other business would a company turn away customers? It’s ALL or NOTHING with these clinics. It’s insane and asinine. We even offered to pay out-of-pocket. Nope. One place would do the monitoring labs, but not the ultrasound. So far, NO PLACE will do the ultrasound. We’re not flying all over the Eastern Seaboard to get an ultrasound done.
Our lives have been on hold for so long now (and I know that the 4 years that we have been dealing with infertility is not very long and others have waited longer, and been through more – even my college roommate and his wife dealt with it longer), but it feels like everything got put on hold while we were dealing with these issues. We got a great opportunity to move to a wonderful city, but now we’re finding that unlike any other medical issue, you can’t leave the place that you started the treatment. We have embryos in the South. We live in the North. Clinics act like they’ve never heard of such a thing. Like they have never heard of someone moving. If you move in the middle of cancer treatments, a clinic won’t turn you away because you started your treatments in a different city. You can still get your thyroid treated after you move across the country.
So here’s my advice (and I really wish there was a sarcasm font for what I’m about to type, so I’ll just use italics): Avoid using insurance for your fertility treatment, and for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT move until you have a baby, because the clinics would rather have ALL your money than just some of your money (mostly because doctors are not good at business).