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Receiving a cancer diagnosis is traumatizing. Your doctor runs some tests, possibly sends you to a specialist, and then tells you the bad news. Within a few days, you must process this life-changing information, decide on and receive fertility preservation, and start cancer therapy. But what happens if your health insurance doesn’t cover the some of these costs?

Fertility preservation is pricey. Men who participate in sperm banking, or cryopreservation, can expect to pay about $800 for the initial collection and then between $200-400 every year for storage. Treatments for women are much more expensive, starting at a minimum of $10,000 and easily increasing to more than $20,000. Many of us don’t have this kind of money lying around the house and hope that health insurance will cover all treatments associated with cancer. However, that doesn’t always happen.

Insurance companies currently only cover the costs of treating some adverse effects of cancer therapies.  In 1998, the Federal Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act mandated that when an insurance company covers a mastectomy for a woman with breast cancer, it must also pay for the cost of breast reconstruction. Insurance also often pays for wigs for cancer patients with chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Even precautionary treatments are sometimes covered, such as blood storage for a patient that may need a transfusion of their own blood after cancer treatment.

Then why isn’t fertility preservation covered by health insurance? One reason is bureaucracy. Most insurance companies don’t cover infertility treatments and consider fertility preservation to be in the same category. However, hospitals have successfully covered these treatments by billing fertility preservation as:

1) Cancer treatment

2) Procreative management

Friends of the Oncofertility Consortium recently met with Washington DC insiders calling for an insurance mandate to cover fertility preservation for cancer patients. Though these people were enthusiastic, it may still take years to pass any legislation. We will keep you informed as progress is made on this issue.

Comments

Twitted by Canc...

[...] This post was Twitted by CancerLegalHelp [...]

James

I really hope the costs come down eventually. It's currently so expensive, but it is great that the treatment is so readily available now. It gives so many couples hope!

James

Tweets that men...

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Oncofertility, Kris Allan. Kris Allan said: Insurance Often Doesn't Cover Fertility Preservation Costs ...: Within a few days, you must process this life-chan... http://bit.ly/cUepbG [...]

Menozac

Wow that is pretty scary. My sister in law has just been diagnosed with cancer and she doesn't yet have any children. She's going thru some really hard times right now. Thank you for your blog and the top notch info that you have on here.

Affording Ferti...

[...] may not cover fertility preservation for all people. As fertility preservation is prohibitively expensive to many people, some women find that they must decline treatment. This happened to Tamika Felder, [...]

Frodo

I hope that this cry of woe will take effect on any insurance company and will take initiative. Nice insurance info you have given here. One thing I am here requesting that we must spread this one to all our blogs that we may continue these type of sounds to the governments, corporations and all insurance companies too.
Thanks and regards
Frodo

Gina Shaw: Surv...

[...] Oncofertility Consortium were really helpful and played a key role in the fertility preservation, financing, and insurance sections of the [...]

Julianna Paradi...

[...] preservation is not just a simple referral to a reproductive endocrinologist, however. Fertility preservation is expensive. Initial specimen collection fees for men start at $800, with annual storage fees ranging from $200 [...]

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