As an intended parent, your surrogacy journey will involve navigating through a maze of important decisions. One crucial aspect of the surrogacy journey that often gets overlooked is insurance. To shed light on this topic, we had the pleasure of speaking with Jason Smith, President of International Fertility Insurance (IFI), who has been navigating the intricacies of surrogacy-specific insurance since 2014.
Let’s explore why insurance is a critical component of your surrogacy journey, the types of insurance you might need, and how to navigate these choices with confidence.
Understanding the insurance types available for surrogacy
When embarking on a surrogacy journey, understanding the insurance coverage available is crucial. According to Jason Smith from International Fertility Insurance, the insurance requirements in surrogacy are often dictated by contractual obligations, with some elements being more optional yet still highly recommended.
Contractual insurance requirements
In every surrogacy agreement, certain insurance types are almost universally included. These are not just formalities but essential components to ensure the safety and well-being of all parties involved.
- Life Insurance for the Surrogate: This is a standard requirement in surrogacy contracts. It ensures that in the unlikely event of a tragedy, the surrogate’s family is protected financially.
- Maternity Insurance: This covers the pregnancy and delivery costs, including the care provided by the obstetrician. It’s a fundamental aspect of the surrogate’s medical support during the journey. If the surrogate’s insurance doesn’t cover surrogacy, intended parents can explore ACA plans or the IFI Surrogacy Maternity Plan, backed by Lloyd’s of London, available year-round.
Optional but recommended insurance types
While some insurance types are optional, they play a critical role in safeguarding against unforeseen circumstances.
- Surrogate Disability Insurance: This covers scenarios where the surrogate might need bed rest or face hospitalization due to complications. It includes coverage for lost wages, childcare, and housekeeping. While it might be optional in some contracts, it’s a prudent choice for intended parents to consider.
- Surrogate IVF Complications Insurance: This covers complications related to IVF treatments. It’s optional, but considering the potential risks and costs associated with IVF, it’s a wise precaution.
- Newborn Insurance: Especially crucial for international intended parents, newborn insurance covers the baby immediately after birth. While it might be seen as optional, it’s highly advisable for those not residing in the country where the surrogacy takes place.
- Loss of Reproductive Organs: This covers the surrogate in case of a need for a hysterectomy or loss of reproductive organs during the surrogacy process.
- Permanent Disability: Offers coverage if the surrogate suffers a non-fatal injury.
- Stillbirth Coverage: Created by IFI, this insurance provides coverage if the baby is lost after the 20th week of pregnancy.
Jason emphasizes the importance of adopting a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach. While some insurance types might seem optional, they are designed to mitigate risks and provide peace of mind. The decision to opt for these insurance policies should be weighed against the potential financial and emotional costs of unforeseen events.
While navigating the insurance requirements of surrogacy, intended parents should consider both the contractual necessities and the optional coverages. These decisions are not just about fulfilling legal obligations but about ensuring a safe, secure, and supported journey for everyone involved.
When should intended parents purchase insurance?
In the surrogacy journey, timing is everything, especially when it comes to purchasing insurance. The process begins after completing the medical and legal clearance phases. This stage indicates that the surrogate has been thoroughly evaluated and approved medically, psychologically, and legally. It’s at this juncture, just before the surrogate starts her medication for IVF, that intended parents should start seriously considering their insurance options.
Most insurance products related to surrogacy offer the best value when purchased before the surrogate begins her medication. This period typically precedes the IVF transfer by about a month. Making decisions during this window is crucial because many insurance policies are designed to start at the beginning of the surrogate’s medication regimen.
While some insurance policies activate with the start of medication, others kick in upon confirmation of pregnancy. In these cases, policies are often ordered in advance, and upon receiving confirmation of pregnancy, they become active.
It’s recommended that intended parents begin familiarizing themselves with the insurance process even before finding a surrogate match. This proactive approach ensures a smoother transition when the time comes to make critical insurance decisions.
Open Enrollment and the Affordable Care Act in surrogacy
Understanding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to as Obamacare, is crucial for intended parents in a surrogacy journey. Jason Smith from International Fertility Insurance breaks down these concepts with clarity. The ACA, established about a decade ago, reshaped the U.S. healthcare system, particularly for individual insurance plans. It’s especially relevant for those who don’t have employer-provided insurance, such as self-employed individuals or those without employment.
Open Enrollment is a specific period, typically spanning two months, during which individuals can purchase these insurance plans. This timeframe is designed to ensure that people don’t delay buying insurance until they face a health crisis. For the insurance system to function effectively, it requires a full year of premium payments from enrollees to balance out expected costs.
For intended parents, this period is particularly challenging. They must scrutinize plans for surrogacy exclusions, assess additional costs like surrogates’ compensation (referred to as a lien), and ensure the chosen plan aligns with the intended doctor and hospital. This thorough evaluation within a limited timeframe adds complexity to an already intricate process.
Resources for more information
Recognizing the complexity of these topics, International Fertility Insurance offers valuable resources. During open enrollment, they conduct webinars twice a month, specifically tailored for intended parents. These sessions delve into the nuances of insurance in the context of surrogacy, providing a deeper understanding of what to look for in insurance plans.
For those interested in these webinars or seeking more educational material, you can visit IFI’s website at www.goifi.com. Here, under the ‘Resources’ section, you can find an ‘Events’ tab listing all upcoming webinars. Additionally, the website is a wealth of information, featuring a video library and detailed sections on various insurance types relevant to surrogacy.
IFI’s website is continually updated with the latest information and events. For those who wish to connect directly with Jason or his team, the website provides streamlined ways to do so, ensuring that anyone seeking guidance in surrogacy insurance can easily find the support they need.
Ready to start your surrogacy journey?
As you consider your insurance options on your surrogacy journey, remember that understanding and managing these details is key to a smooth and secure experience. At Fairfax Surrogacy, we are dedicated to guiding you through every step of this process. From navigating the complexities of insurance to matching you with the right surrogate, our team is dedicated to handling every aspect with expertise and care. Contact us today, and let’s take this important step together toward realizing your dream of parenthood.
About Jason Smith
Jason’s journey into the world of surrogacy insurance is both personal and professional. Having experienced fertility challenges himself, Jason understands the emotional rollercoaster many intended parents go through. His background, deeply rooted in the field of obstetrics through his father’s profession, along with his own extensive experience in life insurance, uniquely positioned him to step into the world of surrogacy insurance.
What started as a quest to offer life insurance for surrogates quickly evolved into a comprehensive service covering various aspects of the surrogacy process, including maternity, newborn, and egg donor insurance. This expansion was driven by the needs of surrogate agencies and intended parents who sought Jason’s expertise and dedication to finding the best insurance solutions.
Today, International Fertility Insurance partners with over 250 surrogate agencies, attorneys, and clinics and assists approximately 200 sets of intended parents each month. With a team of 25 professionals, IFI prides itself on being a reliable and knowledgeable partner in the surrogacy journey, offering tailored insurance solutions from a pool of about 100 different insurance companies.