YAY! We’re officially at the starting line. Day 1. For the next 8-10 weeks we’ll be living our lives on truly a day-by-day basis. Every day for the next 60+ days has a task for us to complete (appointments, shots, tests, etc). There is no doubt, this treatment plan will be intesnse, but as a list person, this to-do list regimen is right up my alley.
Today our biggest decision was regarding financing and payment. We met with a financial counseler a few weeks ago at the clinic. She gave us an treatment estimate for 1 IVF cycle with a total of $13,070 + medication which is estimated to add an additional $3,000 - $4,000. So all up, one cycle through the clinic is about $16,000 - $17,000. Unfortunately, for us zero, nada, zilch of these costs are covered by our insurance so all $16-17k will be out of pocket.
Since she knew we were paying out of pocket, the financial counselor also mentioned to us a partnership they have with a company called ARC. The way I understand it ARC has partnerships with clinics nationwide and they offer ‘package’ deals and refund guarantee programs. The good news is that it has been a while since the clinic has renegociated their fee rates so the ARC contracts in place are based on the old, less expensive fees. So I called ARC and found out that we could get what is called a “One Cycle Plus Plan” for a total of $9,437 at a base cost. The plan give us a ‘bundle’ deal of 1 fresh cycle and 1 frozen cycle for a cost lower than the 1 cycle directly through the clinic. Duh, that’s a no brainer. Sign us up! Now there are a slew of costs this bundle deal doesn’t cover (meds, baseline ultrasound, trial transfer, anesthesia, etc.), so I estimate that the total cost is really like $15,000 for one cycle, but we’re still saving about $1-2k and we are still getting the 1 frozen cycle basically ‘free’ with this plan. I also think it was very was nice for the counselor to suggest it since it sounds like less money for the clinic at the end of the day.
So then the tough decision for us was considering what they call a “Refund Guarantee Program.” Basically this is an add on insurance policy. You pay an incremental amount more, but if not successful at the end of the 2 cycles, you’ll get a portion of your money back. We filled out an application and it came back with an add on cost for us of $7,000. So if we added on the refund guarantee we pay $16,400 instead of the $9,400, but if not successful at the end of the 2 cycles, we’d get $11,000 back.
I was a bit discouraged by this figure as a result of my application. Basically this tells me that they think there is a pretty good chance I may fail, and therefore a pretty good chance they’ll need to pay out the refund. Therefore they want to charge us a crapload upfront to help mitigate the risk. The analogy to this would be the auto premium that is charged to an 18 year old male driver of a red sports car. Seriously, am I that much of a risk?!
Anyway, we talked about it and feel like this is NOT A GOOD DEAL. We’d rather keep our $7,000 in the bank. Hope, pray, beg, and think positive thoughts that this will work for us and if for some reason it doesn’t, we’ll decide where to go from there.
So we signed the 7-page contract for the One Cycle Plus Plan and sent in the credit card #. It is a bit painful for me mentally to let go of the money aspect all of this. It is one of the many unnatural parts of this IVF process and in some ways we feel like we are buying our baby. As a bargain shopper (I LOVE a good deal) I can’t help but feel like we’re getting screwed. Why do we have to pay $15,000 of our hard earned savings to get something that 95% of the population gets for ‘free? In fact some people get it for free and don’t even want it.
But, I just need to remember a lesson my parents ingrained in me at a very young age —Life isn’t fair. Unfair is right.
Big day tomorrow with an 8 am appt with the Dr. I’ll send out an update tomorrow night with the details!