In today's world, there has been much talk about health care reform - and although things are set to change with regard to certain health insurance provisions over the next few years, there are many who are left asking just what exactly is and is not going to be covered. Health insurance companies typically fill their contracts with a great deal of "small print," leaving policy holders uncertain of which services and procedures they are insured for and which they are not. For those who intend to start or expand their family, oftentimes pregnancy and maternity related matters are covered, as well as the newborn, for at least a certain amount of time. Yet, for individuals and couples who are not able to conceive children naturally, using a surrogate may be their only option to have a child, leaving them with the question of whether or not this type of procedure is covered by their insurance plan.
The good news is that there are some insurance companies that cover surrogacy - or at least certain aspects of it. So, it is important to check each individual policy in order to see whether there is a clause that specifically excludes coverage for surrogate pregnancies. In certain cases, if the health insurance plan does not state specifically that surrogacy will not be covered, then legally the insurer must cover the cost of the surrogate pregnancy at the same rate of coverage that it would have paid the policy holder for a natural or traditional pregnancy. When determining what is and isn't covered, it is also important to know which type of surrogacy is being considered. For instance, with gestational surrogacy, an embryo that is made up of the biological mother's egg and biological father's sperm will be transferred into the uterus of the surrogate using a process called in vitro fertilization. Conversely, traditional surrogacy entails using the biological father's sperm and the surrogate's egg. In most cases, insurance companies will not cover the costs that are associated with the transfer of the embryo that is used in gestational surrogacy. However, if an individual or couple opts for using traditional surrogacy, there are some insurers that will cover the expenses that are associated with the artificial insemination procedure with the surrogate using her own eggs.
All insurance companies are different, and even the policies that are sold from the same insurer may differ in certain aspects of their coverage. Therefore, it is recommended that both the intended parent or parents, as well as the surrogate, obtain advice from a legal professional who is also well versed in issues of health insurance. In doing so, an attorney can review the health insurance coverage of all parties who are involved in order to decipher which of the policies is legally obligated to pay for which procedures - if at all. Having legal representation can also be helpful should an insurance company decide to change its coverage mid-way through the surrogacy procedure, potentially leaving one or more of the parties with a hefty hospital bill and other related expenses.