Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bust a Move... or a Myth for National Infertility Awareness Week

I'm usually not the preachy type.

And I've tried to avoid being the preachy type.

But you know what? It's National Infertility Awareness Week, and I've decided to take part in RESOLVE's "Bust a Myth" campaign.

What does that mean?

It means taking a little time to correction a wrong impression or two that people have about infertility.

But before I start busting myths.

I want to let people know that there are "infertiles" all around them. They are best friends and mentors. Old babysitting charges and old babysitters. They are the women who sit outside your office answering your phone, and 10 offices down in the massive corner office.

These women hold their tongues. A lot.

Sometimes they want to punch you.

Or random mothers of 7 in Walmart.

They are happy when you get pregnant, but go home and cry.

They dread baby showers more than the dentist.

They cringe when you ask "Do you have kids?"... "When are you going to have kids"... even "Are you sure you WANT to have kids?"

The moral? Think before you speak. If someone has been married for a few years, and they don't have kids... no matter the reason why... it's none of your damn business. And if they want to make it your business they will. They come up with witty answers to the questions above like "We're having dress rehearsals" or "You won't be the 1st to know".


So on to myth busting, and my personal favorite:

MYTH: It’s covered by insurance.

Yea. Sometimes it is. In some really nice states like Maryland and Massachusetts, it is required to be. In almost every other, it is up to kind employers and flexible insurance companies. And we all know how flexible insurance companies are.

From RESOLVE: "Busted!: Many insurance companies do offer coverage for the various stages of the evaluation and treatment of infertility. Exactly what is covered often varies from insurer to insurer, and from policy to policy. Some insurers will only cover the examination and testing to determine the cause of infertility, while others will cover treatment and medications. The kind of treatment that is covered also varies. In addition, 15 states require that insurers include infertility benefits in their policies, though what is covered also varies from state to state. As a result, it is important to study your policy to determine if, and to what extent, you may be covered. Many fertility practices have financial counselors to help you through this, to answer your questions about your insurance benefits and to work with the insurer to determine what is covered."

So what's my story? Sure. I had infertility coverage. After proof of at least 18 months of unsuccessful trying.

That didn't cover any pre-testing.

Or any drugs.

Or any medically unnecessary blood tests or ultrasounds.

Oh yes, and a limit of $2000 per procedure, or $4000 over a lifetime.

You know what that covers folks?

Not much. I.E... not even the medicines on an injectible IUI.

If you think that IVFs can cost from $8,000-$12,000 per cycle, you hit that $4000 lifetime limit pretty quickly.

So what am I going to do about it other than complain?

I've signed up to participate in RESOLVE's Capitol Hill advocacy day next week. Because really, what does a lobbyist by profession enjoy doing more than going to the Hill and advocating for something they feel passionately about. Health reform certainly wasn't perfect. No legislation is. But to think that with a little legislating, the federal government could required insurance companies to carry some type of fertility coverage. We're not just doing IUIs and IVFs for fun folks.

So take some time and learn about NIAW. Think about the people around you who aren't ready to talk about it. The ones who have gone through it... the ones going through it... and the ones that will have to face the challenges in the future. http://www.resolve.org/takecharge

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