Coming Out of Left Field

Friday, March 31, 2006

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, part 2

Another source of anger and frustration lately: the financial coordinator at the fertility clinic my wife and I have been going to. We first saw her very briefly on our first visit, and all I remember (thanks to the shock and sheer overwhelmment of the starting the whole process) is her asking us a few questions and informing us that since we were a same-sex couple, we'd have to pay for six cycles before insurance would cover anything. Note that this is before any of the wife's test results came back from the lab, or before we even knew what the doctor would have us doing. Also note that unlike with straight married couples, HMOs can and often do assume that same-sex couples can't possibly have tried already, and force them to pay for said cycles before they say, "Oh, yeah, I guess you do have fertility issues."

Fast-forward two and a half months. We've been through one cycle already, with the accompanying ultrasounds and blood work. One of the wife's test results also seems to indicate we may qualify for some coverage, an impression supported by the fact that we were only charged the co-pay for ultrasounds during the first cycle. But then we show up one day during the next cycle, and are told that we owe a lot of money for that day's ultrasound, even though as far as we know a) it's a diagnostic test and b) it's required by the doctors. Naturally the financial coordinator is not there that day, so the desk clerk eventually lets the wife sign a form saying she understood she may have to pay later.

Several days of phone tag later, we finally see the financial coordinator, who blithely informs us that, yes, we still need to pay everything ourselves, and she explained everything to us the first time we saw her. We tell her we didn't understand what a cycle meant, and had no reason to since the doctor hadn't even decided what we'd be doing yet. She says, "Oh, the nurse manager should have explained that to you." The nurse manager? Did I miss the "financial coordinator" part of her job description? And if I did, then what are they paying you for?

The wife pointed out, justifiably, that it would be much easier if they just had a sheet listing the prices for everything. The financial coordinator didn't really have a response to that, which may make sense. I know that if we'd known beforehand how much things would set us back, we might've picked a clinic that was easier to get to.

Oh well. For now, the wife and I will grit our teeth and pay up. If this ends up working, it'll be worth it. And if it doesn't, we'll adopt. And daydream about fixing the situation. The current idea: setting up a foundation to help same-sex couples and single women who need help paying for fertility treatments and adoption fees.


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