My Surrogate Mom Doesn’t Have Insurance! What Do I Do?
I was surfing YouTube the other day and I came across a video made by a surrogate mom / self proclaimed surrogacy expert that was about insurance options for surrogates. It was so full of inaccurate information, I was fearful of potential recipients who may stumble upon this, and actually take the advice she was giving, which ultimately could result in the unnecessary expenditure by the recipients of literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. I was so outraged by the magnitude of this false information that I took it upon myself to send this person a private message, asking this person to remove this video from the internet. (PLEASE DO NOT TAKE INFORMATION NOT WRITTEN BY A AGENCY OWNER, REPRODUCTIVE LAWYER, OR PSYCHOLOGIST AS TRUE AND ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT SURROGACY)
Insurance is by far the hardest obstacle a potential recipient parent has to deal with. Most potential surrogate mothers do not have useable heath insurance that will cover a surrogate pregnancy. Why? Because most insurance companies are excluding surrogacies from their policies. A surrogacy exclusion means the insurance company will not cover any portion of a surrogate mother’s pregnancy. Should you opt to use that policy knowing they have a surrogacy exclusion, the insurance company will put a lien on your surrogate mother’s compensation and actually sue her for reimbursement. Once a lien is on your surrogate mother’s compensation, you will need to have your attorney attempt to negotiate the amount the insurance company is asking down to a lower amount. If negotiation is successful, you as the recipient parent, will be responsible for paying this lower amount. If negotiation is not successful, you, as the recipient parent, will be responsible for paying the entire reimbursement amount requested by the insurance company.
You can find out if your surrogate mother’s heath insurance has an exclusion by looking in their policy benefits handbook. What if your surrogate mother has no insurance can’t she just apply for insurance through state funded insurance company (e.g. Med-cal, Aim etc.. which is what they call it here in California)? The answer to this question is No! If your surrogate mother applies for state funded insurance and attempts to charge the medical expenses of the surrogacy to the state in which she lives, she is committing FRAUD, which is crime. If she would normally use these programs to insurance her self or her family, she would no longer ever be eligible for theses programs.
What Do You Do?
The best thing, if possible, is to obtain heath insurance without a surrogacy exclusion, and for the recipient to buy this type of policy for her shortly after matching. If you have a good lawyer who does fair amount of surrogacy contracts, they can steer you in the right direction or put in touch with an insurance broker who can assist you in purchasing a policy to cover the surrogacy. Insurance brokers are trained professionals who advise people about insurance every day. (Don’t buy insurance based on a recommendation from a surrogate mother online bulletin board. Those boards are a place to exchange ideas, not get actual fact based information.)
Purchase New Life Insurance: New Life Agency is an insurance company that offers surrogacy related insurance policies, including insurance for your surrogate mother, egg donor, and even life insurance for your surrogate mother. New Life is the only 100% way to insure your surrogacy will be covered. But it’s INSANELY expensive and therefore out of reach for most individuals who embark on an independent surrogacy. If you can afford it, New Life is the way to go, since it eliminates the gray area.
I would definitely recommend asking your attorney to advise you on what insurance policy to purchase or having them refer you to an insurance broker before buying New Life.
What Not To Do!
Buy a Maternity Card: I’m sure exactly what this is. The surrogate mom in the YouTube video was telling people to buy this through her informational website. I have been in this business since I was 23 years old. I’m now 29. If, as an agency, I could by my clients maternity cards for $50 a month and it would cover their surrogate pregnancy with little expenses out of pocket, I would certainly do so, and all agencies and industry professional would advise you to do this. New Life would have been out of business years ago if these programs work. They don’t! In a nutshell, if it sounds too good to be true. IT IS! It’s huge scam and been reported on the rip off report. STAY AWAY!!
Paying Out of Pocket:**Most good lawyers will not let you pay out of pocket and will put a clause in the contract that insurance must be in place prior to transfer. Unless your surrogate mother lives in Canada or another place where there is socialized healthcare, this isn’t the best option. Why? Because it’s SO expensive — much more than insurance. I had our daughter Markalee in 2011. I had the worst doctor for my third surrogacy in 2010, which was covered by my insurance. I looked at my husband after finding out I was pregnant with our child and said I am not going back to that guy! We opted to seek out a doctor out of pocket when I was 18 weeks pregnant. Our doctor sent us for an ultrasound which cost us $1,100 CASH price. We were both in shock it was that expensive and opted to use our insurance from that point on! Delivery can also run close to $20,000 — if you pay a head of time you may be able to get a cash discount, but remember everything is A LA Carte– medication, anesthesia, hospital room charges, etc… which equal more future bills! What if there is an emergency? You could go bankrupt! Ask anyone who has a credit report full of medical debt and is on the verge of bankruptcy.
This is not the way to go, unless you have seriously deep pockets or don’t mind being almost bankrupt when baby arrives. If insurance premiums are on the high side for your chosen surrogate mother and is more than you can afford…..
Be honest and tell her! Ask her to lower her base fee a bit, or cut back on a few extras. Perhaps offering housekeeping costs every two weeks instead of every week. Maybe a little less maternity clothing allowance etc.. This can be a VERY touchy subject, but if she really want to help you, she will be willing work with you. Make sure you make it about your financial comfort zone and it doesn’t come across that you think she is worth less compensation.
Or consider a new surrogate mom. I know it’s tough, especially if you have spent months responding to 100s of emails, but if you can’t agree on the numbers in this early stage, and you are going to be over budget, it’s best to just move on and take that time to save more money and search for a surrogate mother who understands your financial limits.