Can I get travel insurance with an IVF pregnancy?

So you’ve been through (or, are about to go through) the white knuckle ride of IVF cycles and all you desperately need at this point (apart from a 40-week pregnancy) is a nice, relaxing break overseas on some tropical island. But you have a cycle coming up and there’s a slight chance that this one could actually work. Will this cause a problem with travel insurance?

For most “normal” people – you know, the ones who just have sex with their spouses and get pregnant (I know, that’s just sooo last millennium!) – getting pregnant before you leave isn’t a problem and isn’t considered a “pre-existing condition” or anything you could be excluded for. Well, guess what, if you’re unlucky enough to need IVF to conceive, do some very serious shopping around before you buy travel insurance. Here’s why …

Here’s a quick summary of what I’ve been able to find out. Some of it is second hand info though, so check directly with providers before buying. The main purpose here is to alert you to the wide variation in policies so you can ask good questions and choose wisely.

Southern Cross:

  • Pre-pregnancy undergoing IVF or egg donation no cover
  • Once pregnant – no longer considered “treatment for infertility” so they are covered without implications up to 28 weeks.
  • Cover is for unexpected medical complications only. Common symptoms such as breast tenderness, constipation, fatigue, frequent urination, heartburn and nausea (morning sickness) are not covered.

Downunder:

  • Single uncomplicated pregnancy arising from assisted program cover available up to 26 weeks – additional premium required.
  • Multiple pregnancy no cover.

Travel Insurance Direct:

  • up to 26 weeks no complications single pregnancy but only if not result of assisted reproductive programs.

Flight Centre’s ‘Travel Sure’ Policy (via Vero):

  • Brochure says: “We will not under any section pay for…
    13. claims directly or indirectly arising from:
    a) pregnancy… if you are AWARE of the pregnancy prior to the Relevant Time (which means when the policy is issued), AND..
    i) where complications of this pregnancy or any previous pregnancy have occurred prior to this time, OR
    ii) where the conception was medically assisted.
    This exclusion will be waived from the time the appropriate additional amount payable has been received by us IF the cover is separately applied for AND accepted by us in respect of your pregnancy only”.
    The usual clause that travel must be completed by 26 weeks applies.
  • One IVF patient reported, “Flight Centre … rang me back this morning and said that even though fertility treatment is not noted in their wording they would decline any claims on the basis of: at the time you take out the policy “you are not aware of any circumstance which is likely to give rise to a claim”. He said that doing fertility treatment which may result in a pregnancy would be considered a ‘circumstance’. I was so outraged I burst into tears and hung up on them. … He said if I wanted to take out insurance we could always take them to the disputes tribunal in the event of a claim being declined. Charming.”

ASB (via Tower):

  • One IVFer reported that they cover pregnancy as a special benefit (without needing to declare it as a preexisting medical condition), but only up to 20 weeks. However: You are not covered for.. “pregnancy known to exist at the date of inception of this policy AND for which you have been receiving medical treatment or medication…”.

Westpac gold card travel insurance:

  • ‘Pregnancy is considered a pre existing condition. There is no cover for any expenses as a result of your pregnancy except for an unexpected/unforeseen medical complication or emergency that occurs during the period of insurance and when you are no more than 26 weeks pregnant at the time of the unexpected/unforeseen medical complication or emergency occurs.’
  • When asked about whether they would cover a pregnancy that had resulted from fertility treatment, one IVFer said the customer service agent “didn’t exactly say either way, just that they would look at it on a case by case basis.”

Here’s what another IVF patient found out when she did some further digging:

I rang Mondial yesterday (who do the insurance for House of Travel) and spoke to their assessor in the ‘pre-existing medical conditions’ section who said they assess for multiple companies (she didn’t name them) and she said all the companies she was aware of had similar exclusions.

According to their policy, if you are ‘not yet pregnant’ (at the time of taking out your insurance) but are undergoing any fertility treatment now or before your travel, you are not covered for any medical costs or cancellation related to pregnancy.

However, if you are already pregnant at the time of booking your insurance, whether naturally or from fertility treatment (including but not limited to IVF) then they will cover you until 26 weeks with a singleton pregnancy, or 19 weeks with a naturally occurring multiple, but not with multiples arising from fertility treatment.

Her suggestion was to take out normal insurance when you book (making sure it covers you from the date of taking it out rather than the date of travel), and if you get pregnant, then you could cancel that cover and take out a new policy (with a different company probably!)

I have contacted Consumer NZ on this one and they plan to look specifically at this issue the next time they review travel insurance (later in 2010). Stay tuned!

2 comments to Can I get travel insurance with an IVF pregnancy?

  • Susie C

    Today I have tried for IVF pregnancy cover for travel from 18-23 weeks

    Travelinsurance direct.co.nz
    1cover.co.nz
    columbus direct
    House of travel
    southern cross (<20 weeks only)
    tower (<20 weeks only)

    finally I got Down Under insurance (DU)allowing me insurance with an extra premium for the pregnancy being IVF
    I couldn't find one other company in NZ to insure me despite being 35, healthy and already 13 weeks and normal singleton pregnancy.

  • Susie C

    Down Under (DU) will do the cover up to 26 weeks for an extra premium
    Covermore.co.nz will do the cover up to 26 weeks as a “pre-existing medical condition” for emergency care but not related to delivery or the care of a newborn child.

    none of the others I listed above would cover at all for IVF pregnancy.

    I am waiting to hear back from STA travel.

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