Insurance Issues to Address Prior to a Surrogacy Agreement
Prospective Intended Parents and Carriers need to be aware that they are embarking upon an investment of time, money and risk when they enter into a surrogacy arrangement together. If you are a Carrier, you are taking time out of you and your family's life and investing that time toward your intended parent's dream of having a child. If you are an Intended Parent, you are asking someone to assume a certain amount of risk to help achieve your dream of having a child. Clearly, there are no guarantees offered by the Infertility Clinics. That being the case, prior to entering into this arrangement you should be aware that some risks can be minimized. Insurance or insurances are the best ways to offset some of the risk inherent to your relationship together.
The time to check these issues is now, not after you enter the Surrogacy contract. The reimbursements that will be paid to a carrier will depend upon whether or not you have insurance coverage. Your contract will need to address this issue, and make an appropriate accommodation.Pregnancy and birth are expensive. Health insurance can go a long way toward minimizing the financial risk. Depending on your state of residence, the costs will vary according to age, health and deductibles. Get the lowest deductible you can afford.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money and will go out of their way to not pay benefits. As an educated consumer, you must be sure that you have obstetrics coverage. Next be sure that you have been covered long enough that your pregnancy will not be deemed a preexisting condition for which benefits can be declined. Finally, check the "exclusions" section of the policy to be sure that a surrogacy arrangement does not take you out of coverage. If you are married and the health insurance is through your spouse's employer, check that policy. Occasionally when obstetrics is not part of the normal benefit package you can add it for an additional fee.
Another consideration of risk is your carrier's life. Why? Because there is a risk of death with any pregnancy and there needs to be a fund of money available to her family should she not be there for them. We recommend a minimum of $250,000 of life insurance for a carrier. This amount can be adjusted according to the carrier's profession, number of children she has and most importantly, what makes her family comfortable with the extra risk she is undertaking. From a legal perspective, having life insurance in effect through pregnancy helps provide financial insulation from a lawsuit should there be a birth related death.
A final consideration is insuring your carrier's ability to work. When a carrier is a stay-at-home parent, her duties have a certain value to her family. When a carrier has a job outside of the home, she helps provide another income stream and raises her family's lifestyle.
If a carrier becomes disabled due to surrogacy, the losses need to be replaced. One way to view the value of the loss is to determine the out of pocket cost to replace her contribution to the household. What is the cost of hiring a housekeeper, a cook or additional daycare while the carrier is on forced bedrest? Most Surrogacy Contracts address this issue with an out of pocket payment. Another alternative may be a short or long term disability insurance policy. Both may be considered to provide seamless coverage till the end of the contract, but certainly a long term disability would have the worst effect upon the carrier's financial well being.
Of course, by now you are wondering how much does this all cost? Costs will vary according to the carrier's age, health, height/weight ratio and lifestyle (smoker/non smoker) as well as the value placed upon the risk. The best time to get an idea of the cost and of any problems with underwriting is during the matching process so that the cost can be allocated within the Surrogacy Agreement.