Posts Tagged ‘FSA’


Tuesday, August 21st, 2007

Before I start, I cannot even believe I’m going to open the gates on this subject. I have a level-headed position on the subject- 99.9% of the time. It’s just one of those subjects right up there with politics and religion you shouldn’t discuss in polite conversation. And we here at BOB are all about polite conversation………… ha!

I was on my FSA provider’s Web site tonight looking through eligible expenses. The very first item under eligible expenses- meaning FSA dollars are approved by the US government- Abortion. You can get an abortion and basically have your insurance cover it.


Not only do I want to KEEP my baby… and have to go to EXTREME measures to get that baby….. my insurance company won’t have a damn thing to do with me!

AND…. AND… the US government will not acknowledge it either.

I also live in a state where it’s legal to carry a gun… but you can’t use a slot machine or buy beer on Sunday.

Right up there with how many licks… I believe this will go down as one of life’s truly unanswerable questions.

On another note- Do not even waste your breath or the muscles in your fingers sending me nasty emails about abortion.

And another note- IVF expenses are covered under FSA.

Slight Change in Plans

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

OK, so here goes. We are not going to have a baby this year. This was a decision that was not made easily, as none of this has been easy. Shelton and I shared a lot of tears, deep conversation, prayer and time to decide that this is the best decision right now.

As I’ve shared, and you can probably imagine, last year dealt me the worst I’ve ever seen. By the end of December I was beginning to sink into a bit of depression, I wasn’t sleeping and I felt this overwhelming anxiety. One evening I told Shelton that I just didn’t think it made sense right now to move forward with the IVF. I wanted to wait one or two more years.

Believe me, we want to start a family more than anything. But I made us re-examine the entire picture. I was changing jobs, Shelton is still in school (thanks to his company’s tuition reimbursement), we’re selling the house, and among many other reasons, we didn’t have the full amount needed. With the $6,000 in donations (THANK YOU!!!), $5000 in FSA and a couple thousand from our tax return, we were still going to have to borrow a couple thousand dollars. We just didn’t want to do that. We’d rather continue saving and have cash in hand.

Our only sound reason for continuing this year was our FSA. That is the non-refundable, pre-tax money we were having taken out of our paychecks. We were going to use that entire amount toward the IVF. It’s a use it or lose it plan. We figured we’d just have to buy a lot of glasses, bandaids and Aleve this year to eat that up. The very next day Shelton received a message that due to a mix-up on the FSA company’s part, they were offering an opt-out. So, we were SO FORTUNATE to get out of that and save ourselves that loss. It felt like a little sign from God telling us that we’d made the right decision.

I know we did. A huge weight has been lifted and I’m feeling like myself again. Shelton and I believe whole-heartedly that a year or two from now we’ll be able to walk into that clinic with a check and start our IVF class.

Baby Or Bust is not going anywhere!! I will continue to update you on our progress and share news and information I find. Please know that all of the donations are tucked away safely. We once again thank you for your support, encouragement and for tagging along on our little journey. It has definitely presented more surprises, ups and downs than I think we ever anticipated. I’m so grateful for having this site to use as an outlet for all of it. And I hope that you, whether an infertile couple or not, have gained something as well.

Still Here!

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

Hello everybody! I feel like every post I start goes “ sorry it’s been a while.” I HAVE NO EXCUSES. So my goal is to start getting here a lot more frequently, because after all, that is the point!

We had a pretty topsy-turvy, hellacious year last year. But it’s over and gone and we rejoiced naked in the streets. Not really, but we did rejoice. Part of the reason my posts are so few and far between, as I have mentioned previously, is that we’re just in this holding pattern. Nothing is really developing and so I feel like you don’t need to keep reading about all my sappy up and down emotions.

When we started this last year, our target cycle date was February, as in next month, starting our hormones and such this month. That’s not happening. A lot of reasons really, the money isn’t there yet and we don’t want to force that, we’re not under a strict “should have had it done yesterday” timeline like a lot of couples are, and the closer we came to the end of last year, I knew we needed some emotionally boring time for a while. I need my entire mind, body and soul to be in tip-top shape, and I’m getting a lot closer. I also changed jobs at the very end of December, and so a little adjustment time was needed.

But have no fear, we are still planning to do our cycle. In fact, we are scheduled for the February IVF class with our clinic. That gives me the willies because they will teach us how to administer my shots, injections, needles in my skin!!! I know Shelton will be a pro. At this point we’re looking at the April/May cycle, but possibly the July/Aug cycle. This class will really help us make up our minds.

The topic everyone wants to know about- the moolah. Well, we’ve raised an exciting $5836!!! (I’m really behind in updating that page too. I’m so bad!) Unbelievable, and we’re just more grateful than we’ll ever be able to express. So we have close to $4000 of that, because of expenses already incurred. We have our FSAs which I discussed in a previous post. Due to expenses taken out of that for my surgery, we have the full amount of Shelton’s remaining. We expect to get a significant tax return. This leaves us only needing to borrow less than $5,000. It’s getting so close!

This site was never intentioned to be solely about the donations, and we’re so glad that so many people get that. So many of you have reached out and just said thanks for the information, for the candid stories and for stepping out and talking about infertility. That was so important to us. We’re still hopeful that we’ll be able to raise more money that we need and be able to to help out one or ten or one hundred other couples. That would just be the ultimate.

So I’m feeling pretty good these days. More like myself again and that is such a good feeling. Shelton and I are both working all the time and enjoying our time together. We feel like we’re in this weird grey zone between the married without children and impending parenthood. We’re taking advantage of the freedom while we have it, but also looking forward to not having that anymore. It’s an interesting place to be. I know we’ll have more updates more frequently and I will get better about writing.

Thanks to all of you who still stop by to catch-up. Thanks for all the donations. And we wish you all have fabulous 2007!!

Surgery It Is

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

I got in touch w/ Dr. T’s fabulous staff today and they have me booked for surgery on Thursday afternoon. I went in for lab work this afternoon to make sure I don’t have any weird diseases that would render me inoperable. I’m going to get in touch with the woman who manages insurance tomorrow and clarify a few questions and get squared away on our cost after insurance. That new FSA money is going to come in handy right about now!

Should be pretty simple- a laproscopy and a hysteroscopy (There is also this link, and I’m really only including it because- HOW SCARY IS THAT PHOTO?!).

This should alleviate the cysts I’ve had taking up residence on my ovary all summer. Those seem to be the only things reproducing down there. We should also find what is causing these obnoxious periods and make those a distant memory. He did say that following surgery I’ll most likely go on birth control until we’re ready to start the IVF. This is for two reasons- one, will stop the cysts and two, will get my schedule on track with theirs.

We also decided to cancel the IVF class we were scheduled for Saturday. I don’t believe I’ll be up for going to class and figure someone else with a cycle sooner than ours can have our spot. We’ve actually spoken to a few people who were going to be in that class via email and were looking forward to meeting them. Hopefully they’ll send us a note telling us about their experience.

Will definitely post and let you know how everything goes. I’ll see you back here Thursday or Friday with new scars!

Yes, we’re still here and we come with news

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

Hello Baby Or Bust readers! Yes, we’ve been neglectful lately and for that I am truly sorry. As I mentioned in a few previous posts, this hiatus has a couple of reasons. 1) We’re kind of in a holding pattern right now. But I do come baring news, and that is still to come. 2) My family has been on one hell of a roller coaster ride this past month. Unlike anything I’ve ever been through before. But we’ve also come together for each other and working through it- one baby step at a time. And lots of those baby steps are going to be required.

So, we have a little bit of financial news.  My company has started offering an FSA (Flexible Spending Account). We already have one through Shelton’s work and found out that I’m also eligible to carry my own. When we max out both of our FSAs, we’ll have $7,000 worth of pre-tax money that we can put toward our IVF. Isn’t that fantastic?? Imagine my surprise when I was looking through the itemized list of eligible medical expenses and found In Vitro Fertilization listed on there. Finally, one place that thinks it’s acceptable to cover this expense! Thank you IRS… now if we could convince the rest of the government to require insurance coverage!!

I strongly encourage EVERYONE** to find out if their company offers this benefit. Whether you’re going through IVF or not- but especially if you are. This allows you to put money away, pre-tax, for medical expenses. And depending on what your company caps at (ours is $5,000 and $2,000) you can determine how much you put away. Then, throughout the year, the money is taken from your check, just like insurance or taxes. You submit receipts for co-pays, prescriptions, Advil, thermometers, IVF, glasses, contacts, crutches… seriously, the list goes on an on. And you get reimbursed. It’s a really simple, tax-free way to save for unexpected medical expenses.

At the beginning of the year we had only committed about $1,300- not knowing that all this baby stuff lie in front of us. So next year, as mentioned, we plan on maxing out the plan. My FSA just became eligible Sept 1 and so the full $2,000 is available to us now.

We’re still so far from our goal. And everyday we cut a new corner and find something else that just isn’t necessary. But we’re also so hopeful and everyday gain so much more support from family, friends and the like. We know we’ll make it.

**Obviously, I’m not your tax advisor, so please just take this as a friendly suggestion. It might not be the best decision for all of you. Also, I’m just repeating my understanding so take that for what it’s worth and do your own investigation before you sign the dotted line.


Sunday, July 16th, 2006

I wanted to address the topic of insurance. First of all our insurance does not cover infertility treatments of any kind. We do have pretty good insurance though. Here’s how it works:

  • The first $1500 of covered medical expenses for the year is covered at 100%
  • The next $1800 has to be claimed so we can get the insurance company’s negotiated rates, but it is completely out of pocket.
  • We do not get credit toward the $1800 for expenses that would not be covered by the insurance company, although we may still save through the negotiated rates.
  • The rest is covered under various percentages.

We like this plan even though it requires quite a bit of planning before the year begins to figure out how you will stay within budget. We do contrubute to our flexible spending account (FSA) in the amount of about $1300 for the year. This means that if we had a $20,000 surgery we would spend the $1500, then the $1300 from FSA, which insurance views as out-of-pocket, then come up the $500 (1800-1300) on our own. That would leave about $16,900, which the insurance company would cover at probably between 80% and 90%.  Of course, none of this applies to our situation because infertility treatments are not covered.

Some states do require insurance companies to offer infertility treatments. Others require the insurance company to offer the coverage to every employer, who can decide to accept or deny it. For a listing of states and a summary what is covered by their law check out this page on Fertility LifeLines.

Our Progress & Expense page has brief descriptions of our charges so far.  Next to those descriptions you may notice in parenthesis the abbreviations CBI, PI and FSA for “Covered By Insurance”, “Partial Insurance” and “Flexible Spending Account”, respectively. This is to let you know exactly what our expenses are for those of you who want to know what to expect as you go through the process and also exactly where the donations are used since they are not needed for every visit.

Here’s a quick statistic for you: “Spending on IVF is up over 50% over the last five years to over 1 billion dollars last year.” U.S. News and World Report, Sept. 27th 2004, Article: “Making Babies”