MONTEGO BAY, St James – Individuals facing challenges to raise funds for fertility treatment such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) will, as of the new year, have an opportunity to access insurance coverage in Jamaica.
Covenant Insurance Brokers Limited said by working through its international insurance arm, it has crafted a deal to bring the service to locals.
“Effective January first, we’re now pulling together where persons, our clients as well as our prospective clients, are able to access fertility treatments as part of our benefit schedule,” Covenant’s International Insurance Manager Lemar James told the Jamaica Observer at a recent company mixer at the ATL Automotive showroom in Montego Bay.
He had earlier announced the new addition to the firm’s offerings.
“To my knowledge, this is the first and we are the only company that offers it here in Jamaica right now. I think persons who would have accessed health care outside of Jamaica are able to get it. But in Jamaica, yes, to my knowledge, we are the only entity set to offer this,” James added.
He believes the product is needed.
“I think there was a newspaper article earlier this year that stated that 40 per cent of Jamaican women are actually having challenges,” he explained.
“We’ve heard all our clients from the general side, from the health side, and even from the employee benefits side and we understand what people are facing and what the concerns are. We are trying to ensure that we cover what is uncovered,” he added.
Statistics show that infertility is estimated to affect 20 per cent of couples of reproductive age globally. According to the data, 33 per cent of cases are female factor infertility, 20 per cent are male factor infertility, 39 per cent are a combination of male and female factor infertility, and eight per cent are unexplained infertility factors.
IVF is among the more popular treatment options. During the process, the woman is given drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The eggs are then removed from the ovaries and inseminated in a lab, where they are grown and observed, after which the best quality embryos are taken and transferred to the uterus.
According to the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, costs for procedures associated with fertility treatments can run individuals up to US$8,000 for the IVF; plus there are other associated costs prior to the procedure.
James said insurance rates would be as low as US$100 per month.
The product has been added to the company’s existing suite of products which is underwritten by Lloyds of London through Morgan White which operates locally.
“With us, you are able to access care in four territories, which would be the US, the UK, Caribbean, Latin America, where the policy pays up front for you. Anywhere outside of those four spaces, you would have to pay out of pocket and claim after, which is the standard US system. But [this is with the] understanding that our policy is underwritten by Lloyds of London and understanding that we have that network space; we are able to connect that entire system,” he stated.
Those who pay up front should be reimbursed within 30 days after submitting a claim, said James.
“Once they are paying their premium on time and dealing with their deductibles, they can access 100 per cent coverage for fertility treatment support as well as any single medical care they are seeking,” he added.
James also spoke about another product that will come on-stream next year.
“We’re also looking at covering psychologists visits up to 100 per cent,” he promised.