Hiring a surrogate is an expensive undertaking, but for some couples, it is the best option for completing their family. While medical insurance will not cover the cost of hiring the surrogate or the other miscellaneous fees such as travel, a surrogate's own medical insurance should cover the cost of her prenatal and maternity care. All major insurance companies, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna or United Healthcare, offer plans that cover a surrogate's pregnancy.
A surrogate's pregnancy should always fall under maternity care benefits for a health insurance policy. However, many insurance companies attached a special surrogacy exclusion to their policy that denied maternity coverage to a woman if she was acting as a surrogate. The Affordable Care Act now requires health insurers to provide maternity coverage, referring to it as one of the "essential health benefits." Though the coverage is required by law, some insurers may still try to find loopholes to deny coverage.
Potential surrogates who are low income may not have their own medical insurance but may be covered by the state-funded Medicaid program. However, some states, such as Utah, specifically ban those on Medicaid from entering into surrogacy arrangements. Many surrogacy agencies also require their surrogates be financially stable so they are not entering into the agreement solely for financial gain. Therefore, potential surrogates who are on Medicaid are unlikely to be approved.
Even though maternity coverage is required for all health plans, some women may experience complications that are not covered, or they may have excessive deductibles or co-pays. Purchasing a backup insurance plan can cover these costs. Lloyd's of London offers the Surrogate Maternity Contractual Liability Insurance Plan, and it is available in all states. The New Life Agency in Florida offers the Surrogate Maternity Care Insurance plan just for surrogate mothers. It provides coverage from confirmation of pregnancy at six weeks up to two years. It can be used as a primary or backup plan.
A gestational surrogate carries an embryo fertilized by the egg and sperm from the couple trying to build their family. In vitro fertilization is used to harvest the biological mother's eggs, fertilize them and transfer them to the surrogate. The insurance of the biological mother would have to cover this procedure, not the surrogate's insurance. Many insurance companies offer only coverage for infertility diagnosis, not treatment. Some states, like New Jersey, require insurance companies to provide this coverage. Montana requires health care organizations to provide this coverage, but other companies are exempt. Even in states that don't have a mandate, some insurance companies may provide the coverage in specific policies. You just have to check the specifics of each policy before deciding to purchase.
Even if you don't have insurance coverage to pay for your surrogacy costs, your employer may offer a special benefit. For example, high-profile companies Facebook and Apple both offer employees $20,000 for fertility treatments, including surrogacy, in vitro fertilization and egg freezing. If your company offers such a benefit, it could also be put toward the cost of surrogate compensation, which isn't covered by any medical insurance provider.
- CNY Fertility Center: Surrogacy Insurance Coverage in 2014 by Yifat Shaltiel, Esq.
- ART Risk Financial and Insurance Solutions: Health Insurance and Surrogacy
- New Life Agency: Surrogate Maternity Care Insurance
- Building Your Family: Surrogacy Cost and Health Insurance
- National Conference of State Legislatures: State Laws Related to Insurance Coverage for Infertility Treatment
- Business News Daily: Think Freezing Eggs is Odd? Check Out These Strange Employee Benefits
- Center for American Progress: Guide to State Surrogacy Laws