Hello, I regret that it has been a busy week so I am just now getting a new post off. I will do better in the future! Today’s topic is going to be why you should look a little closer at any clinic advertising cheap IVF cycles. There can be a whole lot of additional charges involved the process and your cheap IVF cycle may get a whole lot more expensive.
One of the problems with putting a single price tag on something as complicated as an IVF cycle is that not every doctor/clinic will carry out the procedure in exactly the same way. More importantly, different clinics may include or exclude certain auxiliary procedures that may not be needed in every case. They can then charge extra for these services – resulting in a higher bill than expected. While this makes perfect sense, as they might be doing more work in certain cases and should be compensated for their work, the tactic can surprise patients with unexpected charges. In my time working with patients, I have noticed that it is not necessarily the total cost of the services that surprised or upset patients as much as the fact that the charges were unexpected. Most fertility clinics try to make their costs known to patients, but this can vary tremendously depending on where you go.
Unfortunately, this is reflective of one of the core issues in healthcare today. That prices and costs to consumers are generally opaque to them. It is very difficult for a patient seeking care to get a concrete price for their care, and to compound the issue, when someone really needs the care, they often don’t have the liberty of time to shop around for the lowest price (not to mention the fact that patients want the best care possible and there is no easy way to compare similar services from different doctors/clinics).
One simple issue can be that the clinic will have a financial discussion earlier on in the process and during the course of treatment something unexpected comes us that requires an additional service (ICSI is probably the most common one). The clinic may have even mentioned the possibility of the additional service in the financial discussion, but it might not have been emphasized much or the patient just forgot it with the multitude of other information they were trying to absorb.
Another thing that can help patients sort through all this stuff is just being proactive. Ask, ask, ask! Ask your financial counselor if the lump sum you paid includes everything required, or what are the common additional procedures tacked on. More importantly, if you are unsure, or confused by the costs – ask your clinic for help. They would much rather have to take a few more minutes out of their day to explain something that you might not understand than have you find out unexpectedly and be upset. As much as they want to help you, they can be really busy sometimes and can assume you heard them the first time. If not, give them a little nudge to get another explanation.
From the clinic standpoint it is important to beat this stuff over your patients heads as much as possible (I mean that in the nicest way possible!). You want to do your best to make sure the every patient is aware of what they will be charged, and what possible additional services might be needed. You want to give them the best, more clear picture of the possible costs as you can. They will thank you for keeping them in the loop!
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