The Infertility Hotline

First things first…

Thank you.

I was in such a sad place last week and I just needed a safe place to spew. Not only did you beautiful girls suffer through that post, many of you stepped in as my personal pep squad. I needed it. If I’m learning anything through this, it is that the kindness of strangers is a real thing. You all give me hope for humanity.

And now we plod onward…

There are so many reasons that I was hoping to skip what I am now learning is called “Advanced Reproductive Technologies.” Not just the emotional stuff, the doctors visits, the potential injectables… That actually didn’t scare me one bit.

It is dealing with my insurance company. We’ll call it “Incompetence Insurance”, shall we? Before this even got started, I’ve experienced so many errors, misinformation, and flat out idiocy. For example: because they failed to send claim information to an office in a timely manner, I was sent to the hospital’s collections department. (I DO NOT get sent to collections. I may have my shortcomings, but this lady gets her bills paid on time.)

There are more examples, but I will spare you the gory details. In short, I hate them. But they are the only one my employer offers, so there you have it.

As much as I was bummed to wait so long to see the RE (appointment August 7th,) I realized that this was probably a good thing since it gives me plenty of time to get my ducks lined up with Incompetence Insurance. Planning is my middle name, after all.

According to the rather large packet of information sent to me by the RE’s office, mine is the only insurance company that requires I call an “Infertility Hotline” before they will authorize treatment. (No, really. That’s what they call it. A hotline. Call now for all your hot and heavy infertility needs!) So I need to get 1) a referral from my PCP, and 2) authorization from the Infertility Hotline. Thanks for making a painful process so much easier, guys.

Any way, after I hauled myself out of my sadfest the other day, I realized I should get that started. Who knows how long that’s going to take? 2 days, apparently. I called. Was put on hold for 10 minutes. Was told that all infertility specialists were busy and someone would call me in 2 business days. I continued hating Incompetence Insurance. #rage

Eventually, I get a call back and proceeded to have the first and likely last helpful conversation I have ever had with my insurance company. I had to answer all the questions I’ve answered a bazillion times: How long have we been trying, which tests have you run, are you having timed intercourse, blah, blah, blah. After a 28 minute interview and two calls to my RE’s office, I’ve been given an authorization number. Victory, albeit a small one.

The only thing my insurance doesn’t seem to suck at is the actual coverage. Though not a reproductive free for all, it appears to be “fair.” (Wait until the bills start coming in, and I’ll let you know if this holds true.)

One interesting bit: Unless there is a medical need, my insurance will not authorize IVF until at least 6 cycles of other infertility treatments have been tried. (Clomid counts, BTW.) I guess that makes sense, but for those of us that fall in the “Unknown” category, that’s sorta shitty. Not that I want IVF… I don’t know… I guess I’m just bristling at the bureaucracy involved with something that feels so heartbreaking and personal.

In the meantime, I’m going to start taking Synthroid. Wait… What? Remember those blood tests I had a few weeks ago? It turns out my TSH is a little high. I’m at 2.75. Whereas that is in the range of “normal,” it is on the high side for baby making. I was resisting it for a while- I don’t like taking extra medication if I can avoid it. But then I realized I’m about to introduce all sorts of foreignness into my body. Why not start now?

The good news from the blood work is that I do not seem to have any autoimmune diseases. Victory yet again, though this one is a much bigger weight off my shoulders. Whew…

Round 5 of Clomid starts today. Wish me luck.

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11 comments

  1. labmonkeyftw · June 23, 2014

    Good luck good luck! And congrats on the authorization number and being through the hotline hoop. Every hoop jumped with an insurance company is a major victory! (also, hotline? Are they manning the phones 24/7? Akin to fundraiser hotlines and the home shopping network? “Yes, I’ll take two of today’s baby special: yes, that was the twins with precocious smiles for seven thousand easy payments of only $3.99, plus shipping and handling”)
    I’m on day four of round three of letrozole. Isn’t this fun? I dearly hope neither of us actually need to navigate the hoops that lead to IVF.

    • thecommonostrich · June 25, 2014

      REALLY. It’s such a weird word for them to use. If only you could order a baby as easy as a matching sweatsuit set from QVC…

      Good luck on this round!

  2. c. from indeterminatewait · June 23, 2014

    Hey now, looks like we might get to be Synthroid buddies… Yay? I’m going to the endocrinologist tomorrow, so will have to post about it soon. I am a fellow anti-meds person, but my pro-baby feelings are way stronger, so at this point will probably just swallow any ole thing they give me. That’s what she said.

    Congratulations on successfully navigating your insurance company- no small feat. I was worried about that part as well, but I think it helps to go in expecting the worst and armed for battle; then they have the chance to surprise you (pleasantly, for once).

    I’m very glad you’re feeling better, on to round 5! Good luck.

    • thecommonostrich · June 25, 2014

      Ooooo… Can we have a secret handshake?

      Out of curiosity, have you experienced any side effects on Synthroid? I’ve read up on them, of course. But I’d be curious to know what an actual human’s experience has been.

  3. Jessica · June 25, 2014

    I am 100% sure we have the same insurance. I had to call the same hotline and they have to authorize treatment every month. I’m not going to complain though because they cover 6 IUI’s and 4 IVF’s and all I pay is the visit co-pay. That kind of treatment really adds up if you have to pay for it yourself.

    Good luck!

    • thecommonostrich · June 26, 2014

      Oooo… We might have the same insurance. But I’m not sure we have the same plan. I haven’t done the math on it, but I don’t think my cap covers all that. And I’m pretty sure I’m on the hook for more than a co-pay.

      Still, something is better than nothing, amiright?

      • Jessica · June 26, 2014

        Oh right, I don’t have a cap when it comes to dollars spent on treatment.
        If you’re under 35 they do make you do all 6 IUI’s before paying for IVF but if you’re over 35 they only make you do 3.
        They also will count any you did before you signed up for the insurance so that means, for us, we only need to do one more under this insurance to qualify for IVF.

        We’re not ready to go that route, I think we’d prefer to exhaust all 6 IUI’s first.

      • thecommonostrich · June 27, 2014

        That’s insane. You have the best insurance plan EVER.

  4. Pingback: My Date with an RE | the common ostrich
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