Covering the Costs of Treatment

Australia is one of the few countries in the world where the health-care system covers a substantial proportion of the financial costs of IVF treatment and where women aren't limited in the number of treatments they can have. As a result, an Australian couple may pay ten times less than an American couple for an IVF cycle.

Each clinic sets its own fees and you can find out the exact total cost of your treatment from the clinic's accounts department. In addition to the clinic fees you may need to pay for hospital admission for egg collection and for anaesthetist fees. Also expect to have considerable out-of-pocket expenses, which vary depending on the clinic you attend and the type of treatment you need. For example, the cost quoted for a treatment cycle doesn't include the costs of certain drugs that you're prescribed.

Make sure that you get an estimate of all treatment-related costs before you I tOl 1 start, so that you don't get any nasty surprises.

Medicare cover

Tax payers using IVF see their taxes at work! A large proportion of the costs of IVF treatment are covered by Medicare. Currently, if your out-of-hospital medical expenses, including IVF, exceed $1,126.00 in one calendar year you're eligible for the Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN), under which Medicare covers 80 per cent of any additional out-of-hospital costs in that calendar year. However, Medicare sets an upper limit on the benefits that can be paid under the EMSN for IVF services.

Medicare rules are revised from time to time, so although this is true at the time of writing, check with your clinic's accounts department for the latest updates.

You need to register for the Extended Medicare Safety Net in order to claim its benefits. Registration involves filling in the appropriate form. You can download this form at and register directly online, or you can register at your local Medicare office. To find your local office call 13 20 11.

After you start treatment, the clinic provides you with statements of the various charges you pay, which you take to Medicare for partial reimbursement.

To enjoy Medicare benefits you need a current referral from your family doctor to your infertility specialist. Referrals to specialists are valid only for one year, so keep an eye on the date of your referral and ask your doctor to renew the referral before it expires.

In addition to Medicare cover, under the government's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme certain drugs used in IVF are provided free of charge to patients (see Chapter 6 for more information). This is a blessing, because the drugs used to stimulate the ovaries are very expensive.

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