Infertility insurance: What coverage exists for physician trainees?
Introduction: We aimed to describe infertility insurance coverage provided to male and female fellows working at institutions that offer advanced infertility training.
Methods: Faculty and fellows working within U.S. and Canadian andrology or reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) programs were contacted and asked for a copy of their institutional health insurance summary of benefits. Documents were assessed for coverage of diagnosis and treatment, shared costs, and maximum lifetime coverage for infertility care.
Results: Insurance policies from 24 institutions were reviewed; 16 of 24 (66%) institutions covered costs related to the diagnosis of infertility. Six institutions (25%) offered coverage for diagnosis but not treatment. There were 15 (62.5%) institutions that offered some amount of coverage for the treatment of infertility, and the average lifetime maximum was $16 100. Only six of 24 (25%) plans explicitly described a covered male-specific treatment, which included sperm extraction (12.5%), varicocele repair (4.2%), and sperm cryopreservation (8.3%).
Conclusions: For physician trainees, infertility insurance coverage is not universal, policies are not transparent, and treatment for male factor infertility is often omitted. With high costs of infertility treatment, variable insurance coverage, and debt and time constraints, residents and fellows are a particularly vulnerable population that may experience significant financial toxicity when faced with infertility.
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