Monday 14th June 2010
Gestation: 37 weeks, 3 days
One year ago.
I pick up the phone and ring.
“Hi there, I was just ringing to find out about the Victorian IVF treatment cycle costs.”
“Well, I’ve just been trying to get some information about how much my Private Insurance will cover me for. And they suggested that I talk to you, as they weren’t able to tell me anything more than the item numbers.”
“Sure. What would you like to know?”
“Well, they’ve told me that they won’t cover item numbers 13200, 13202, 13206, 13209, 13221, 13290, or 13292. But they will cover 13212, 13215 and 13218. But they couldn’t tell me what all of those meant. Seems that they don’t go beyond numbers.”
“That would be right,” says the voice at the other end. “Well, I could go through all of the numbers, but the long and the short of it is that they don’t really cover for anything. The things they will cover you for are retrieval of eggs, preparation of frozen or donated eggs and transfer of embryos. But only if you are an inpatient. They can’t cover for outpatient work.”
I process this fact. “Which is basically everything, right? Pretty much all of this stuff is done as an outpatient, right?”
“So why am I paying a premium for Private Health Insurance for IVF cover?”
“In case…” There is silence at the other end. “In case your partner needs inpatient work.”
“Which we’ve already said is bugger all of IVF.”
I sigh, feeling a headache coming on. With ample due diligence, Suse and I ensured that our Obstetric cover included IVF cover.
We just never asked what that means exactly.
Answer: fuck all.
“So what don’t they cover for?”
“They won’t pay for ovulation monitoring services, or oral induction medications. They won’t pay for ongoing planning and management by your specialist, and they won’t pay for assisted reproductive supraovulation,”
“Sounds like something out of a Marvel comic book.”
“And they won’t pay for any of your requirements either, sir. Preparation of semen, collection of semen, or analysis and storage of semen.”
“Right. Collection of semen has it’s own item number?”
“Of course. Everything has an item number.”
“But separate from analysis and storage.”
“And preparation of semen also has an item number?”
I pause. “Do I not prepare and collect the semen myself?” There is silence at the other end. “I mean, I’ve been told that I need to get a sterile pot, and deliver my sample to you guys in it. I prepare the sample – as I have been everyday for the last twenty years in my testicles – and then collect it in a pot. Which I give to you guys. And then you analyse it and store it.”
There is a laugh at the other end. “It’s not exactly what those items numbers are about. But I get your point.”
“No seriously, what are those numbers about?”
“I’ll let you check that out. It’s all on the net.”
“Okay.” I pause again. “And so what do you think about the whole funding issue? The Government having dropped funding by two-thirds six months ago?”
“I think it’s disgusting. Personally, I do. I think it’s immoral.”
“And the Police Check we have to do?”
“Again, I feel for you guys. You don’t need a Police Check for anything else. You don’t need a Police Check to be treated as a criminal in jail.”
“No kidding.” I rub at my brow again. “So, the take home message is that we’re paying for Private Health Insurance that covers us for pretty much nothing. Everything else is covered by Medicare. And with this, the Government dropped funding by two-thirds, just six months ago.”
* * * * *
I later look up the item numbers. They are as follows:
PREPARATION OF SEMEN for the purposes of artificial insemination
SEMEN, collection of, from a patient with spinal injuries or medically induced impotence, for the purposes of analysis, storage or assisted reproduction, by a medical practitioner using a vibrator or electro-ejaculation device including catheterisation and drainage of bladder where required.
As for item 13290, under general anaesthetic, in a hospital.
* * * * *
So, if I required someone to use a vibrator to get a sample of my sperm, I would have to pay for it.
My Health Insurance would only cover me if this was done under anaesthetic. If I’m awake during the experience, they expect me to pay.
They are smarter than you might think, these guys.
But I think I’ll save everyone the bother. I think I’ll prepare and collect the sample myself.
No really, I don’t need to be paid $48 for it.
I’ll do it for free.
* * * * *