What Are Personal Loans for Fertility Treatments?
Only 15 states in the country require insurers to offer some coverage for an infertility diagnosis and treatment. The average cost of a single fertility treatment cycle can be over $10,000. With this information, having children can seem financially out of reach. In order to make dreams of having children a reality, many couples will consider taking out personal cash loans in order to cover the cost. Since a personal loan can be used for just about anything, with little restrictions on how you use the money, you can use one to pay for treatment.
Cost of Fertility Treatment
One of the most common fertility treatments is IVF. The average cost for a single IVF treatment can run between $12,000 and $14,0000. Not everyone gets pregnant through the first treatment cycle or at all. Those who go ahead with IVF treatment should plan to pay for at least two cycles but there is no way to predict how many cycles any one woman may need.
The price of a cycle can range. There are also additional costs that not everyone will think about. If you add in the cost of lab work and medicine, one cycle can also easily add up to $20,000. The medicine cost can give many patients sticker shock. The issue is further exacerbated by the fact that the type of medicine you may need is unpredictable and can be dependent on your age or the treatment option your provider selects. Many patients shop for medications on their own and the price can range from $2,000 to $6,000 per treatment cycle and vary from one pharmacy to the next.
If a patient is lucky enough to have some insurance coverage for fertility costs then the cost of the medicines alone can sometimes meet the policy maximums for treatment. There may also be the cost of genetic testing, which can cost an additional $5,000 to $7,000. Many people want to do genetic testing to see if the embryos are healthy and to give the highest chance of success. When pricing out an IVF cycle, don’t forget to take all the costs into consideration, which include the price of medicines and whether or not you will need genetic testing.
What Is a Personal Loan?
A personal loan is when a lender lends you money that you must pay back monthly for a set period of time. The lender can be any type of lender. There are certain qualifications that you must meet and you will need to provide some documentation. When you take out a fixed-rate personal loan, you will have the same payment throughout the life of the loan. If you take out a loan with a variable interest rate then it has a lower starting interest rate that could increase over time.
Should You Get Personal Loans for Fertility Treatments?
If you aren’t covered for fertility treatments under your insurance then getting a personal loan can seem like a good option. It’s always a good idea for potential borrowers to weigh the costs associated with getting a loan and consider all their financial options. Some loans can carry high interest rates, especially if your credit isn’t that great. You will need to ask yourself if you are able to afford the monthly payments along with the cost of pregnancy, childbirth, and a newborn.
Ideally, you should try to pay for some of your treatment with your own savings but it can be hard to foot the entire bill. If you are going to search for personal loans to pay for fertility treatment, you should search for the lowest rates. It’s also advisable to look for treatment and prescription discounts to help offset the cost of treatment so if you do have to take out a loan, it’s not for as much.
Where to Get Personal Loans for Fertility Treatments
You may be able to get a loan directly through your healthcare provider. If that’s not the case, you can go to banks and online lenders for a traditional personal loan.
At the Medical Provider’s Office
There are some finance companies that will work directly with medial providers to have in-house lending solutions for patients. This lets you apply directly at the doctor’s office for financing. Some of these companies provide loans for a variety of healthcare needs, while others focus solely on fertility treatments. The loans will act the same way as a traditional personal loan and you will have monthly payments over the course of the loan. There can be prepayment penalties associated with the loan so check with the provider.
Personal Loans Online
If your healthcare provider doesn’t work with a financing company, there are plenty of options for personal loans online. You can find fertility loans online but you can also apply for traditional personal loans. If you have excellent credit, it’s possible that you can qualify for a single-digit interest rate. Fertility loans function in the same way as personal loans but can only be used for fertility treatments. Most personal loan providers will allow you to check your rate online without a negative impact to your credit score so you can shop around for the best rate.
Credit Union or Bank
Your credit union or bank will have personal loan options. You may even get a rate discount if you are paying back the loan through a qualified savings or checking account. Some banks offer secured loans, which will use something as collateral. Secured loans can come with longer terms, larger loan amounts, and lower interest rates. Credit unions and banks may have some restrictions on how to use the funds from a loan so you need to see if fertility treatment is eligible. Most will have online applications to help speed up the process.
Other Options to Pay for Fertility Treatments
While personal loans can be a good option for fertility treatment for many couples, there may be other options for medical financing.
Health Savings Account
An HSA is a savings account with tax advatanges that will allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars to a fund that you can use to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses. If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan, you should definitely have an HSA. If you have saved up enough funds in your account, you can pay for treatment. There are limits on how much you can contribute each year but it can still be a good option. Flexible spending accounts, or FSAs, can also be used.
Home Equity Loan
If you have a home and there is some decent equity built up then you can get a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit to pay for treatments. There are some risks involved. If you aren’t able to repay the loan then you are putting your homeownership in danger. You should only take out this loan if you know you are able to repay it without any problems.
Paying for fertility treatments on a credit card may not be the best option due to high interest rates. If you are able to get a 0% interest credit card and pay for the charges before the promotion period ends then using a credit card can be a good choice. You will need to pay off the balance before the promotional period ends in order to make it worth it.
Foundations and organizations to help with fertility treatments can offer fertility grants. Some of the grants come in set amounts that you can use toward your treatment, while others cover the full cost of a procedure, such as an IVF cycle. Even if grants don’t cover the full cost of the procedure, they don’t have to be repaid, which can help you supplement your other financing options. In order to do this, you need to fill out an application and likely pay an application fee. The organization reviews the application and may perform a background check to let you know if you get the funds. Each program will have its own guidelines and rules so do your research before applying for any grants.
Payment Plan with a Provider
Instead of taking out a loan to pay for treatment, you can work out a plan with your medical provider. This may be able to help you save on interest costs and you can have some recourse if there are billing or clerical errors for treatment, which can be common. You may also get a discount if you pay with cash. Each medical provider will have different options so be sure to check what is available.
Borrowing from Family
Borrowing from family members can be the best decision or the worst decision. It will depend on your relationship with the family member you are getting the money from and your ability to pay them back on time. If you miss a payment to a family member then you won’t ruin your credit score or lose your house but the tension can lead to bickering and bitterness. It can cost you the relationship. However, if you have a good relationship with the family member and he or she has the cash to lend then it could be an option.
Medical loans can be personal loans or credit cards, which are specially marketed for health care. You can use some medical credit cards and loans only at certain providers, while others are less restrictive. They can be offered to pay for a variety of different medical needs, including fertility treatments. You cannot use every medical loan for fertility treatment so you shouldn’t waste time applying for one you can’t use. Medical loans may offer a 0% interest rate for a set period. Another advantage of medical loans is you aren’t going to be tempted to use the money for other expenses. You need to read the fine print on these loans. What happens if you are late on a payment? What happens if you take longer to repay the loan than the period you have for zero interest?
Borrowing from a Retirement Fund
Borrowing from a 401k or IRA may be possible with a hardship withdrawal. Whether this is possible will have to do with your particular plan, your ability to pay it off, and your assumed job security. You may also need to prove you have a need, which may require sharing your medical bills with HR and you may not want to disclose you have infertility issues to your employer.
Other disadvantages of borrowing from a retirement fund can include getting hit with penalties, having to pay taxes on the borrowed funds, and the risk of losing your job before you pay back the loan. It can be possible to borrow the money without paying penalties or fees but navigating the rules can be tricky. Your expenses usually need to occur in the same year you borrow the money. If you borrow money in 2019 to pay off credit card debt you got from fertility treatments in 2018, you could end up being penalized.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Financing Options for Fertility Treatment
With so many different financing options for fertility treatment, it helps to know the advantages and disadvantages of each one so you can make the right decision.
Since personal loans come with fixed interest rates and a monthly payment that is predictable many think it is the best option to cover fertility treatment. When you have a personal loan, you will know exactly how much interest you have throughout the life of the loan and when you will pay off the loan. Another advantage is that you may also qualify for a lower interest rate depending on your creditworthiness. However, some loans will charge origination fees and you may need a good or excellent credit score to qualify. You will also have to borrow a fixed amount of money, which means you may borrow more or less than you need. Since the cost of each treatment cycle varies, this can be a big disadvantage.
Home Line of Credit
With a home line of credit, you can borrow exactly what you need to cover the expenses as you go and these come with low APRs since your home is used as collateral. However, you may not know your exactly monthly payment until you are done borrowing money, which can make it harder to budget. You are also putting up your home as collateral so you need to make sure you can repay the loan. Some lines of credit may come with adjustable interest rates, which can mean it’s harder to calculate the monthly payment and the interest cost.
Credit cards do come with some advantages since you only borrow what you need as you go. They can be convenient to use and some will give you rewards for every dollar you spend. They also don’t charge an origination fee like personal loans, but there can be some that charge annual fees. Credit cards can come with high interest rates that make borrowing more costly than other options. You may not have a predictable monthly payment since the balance will change as you charge more during your treatment. Credit cards can often tempt people to rack up more debt.
How to Borrow Responsibly and Get the Best Rate for Fertility Treatment
Before you borrow money for fertility treatments, you need to prepare your finances and know the ins and outs in order to get the best deal.
Check Your Credit Score
Generally speaking, if you want to qualify for personal loans, you will need a good or excellent credit score. Some lenders can give personal loans to those who have a credit score as low as 600 but the lower the credit score, the higher interest rate you will have to pay. The first step should be finding out where your credit score stands and if there are quick ways to improve it.
Set a Treatment Budget
You should speak with your fertility clinic to find out all the different costs you will need to pay. Get an itemized list and add up your total. While you may not be able to get an estimate of everything, try your best to get as close as possible to the final total. You should then figure out how much you can pay yourself and how much you will need to borrow. The best way to save on fertility treatment is to only borrow what you need and not any more.
Apply for Loans Online
The fastest way to find the best deal and to compare different loan options is online. Personal loan shopping online can be quick and easy and you are able to compare several different offers in one place.
Read All the Fine Print
No matter what type of funding you go with, you need to do your due diligence. For example, if you are taking out a personal loan then you need to read all the fine print and understand the terms and conditions before you sign. This can include understanding your payment terms, your interest rate, the fees associated with the loan, and if there is a prepayment penalty.
Set Up a Realistic Payment Plan
Before you sign, you need to make sure you are able to afford the amount without jeopardizing your financial life. If your fertility treatment is successful, you will be juggling these payments along with the cost of having a newborn. The best way to set yourself up for financial success is to only borrow what you need and get the lowest interest rate possible. If you want to have a lower monthly payment then it can be worth it to choose a loan that has a longer repayment timeline. With this option, you will pay more interest in the long run but your monthly payments can be easier to afford.
What to Watch Out for When Getting Personal Loans
As part of doing your research for personal loans to know you are getting the best rate and the best option for you, it helps to know what to look out for. One main thing you should pay attention to is an excessive fee. Many lenders can charge an application fee but the fees can add up. They may also offer you loan insurance, which would cover your personal loan payment if something happens to you or in the event of death. While insurance may help with peace of mind that you aren’t leaving family members in a bind, it can also come at a cost. Always make sure that the lender is legitimate and is a licensed business in your state.
What Do You Do if You Have Bad Credit?
Those who have bad credit may not qualify for personal loans and often will opt for fast loans. However, these loans will usually have very high interest rates. These loans can often be seen as predatory because of the high interest and the terms. If you do take out these types of loans, it’s best to pay them off as soon as possible. If you’re looking for personal loans for fertility treatments but aren’t able to qualify, you may want to spend some time working on your credit before applying in order to get the best rate.
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Personal loans for fertility treatments can help with the high costs of treatments and IVF. There are plenty of benefits of getting personal loans and you may be able to get these loans from different locations. Whether or not personal loans for fertility treatments work for you will depend on your unique situation and your other options for financing your treatment. There are different ways to finance treatment but they also come with their own advantages and disadvantages. If you do decide to get a personal loan to help with the cost, you need to make sure that you are able to work it into your monthly budget and having a monthly budget before you apply is a must. There are certain things to look out for, including high fees.
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Kevin Strauss is a personal finance writer and homeowner based in the Los Angeles area. Being in one of the most expensive markets in the country, he’s learned to maximize resources to plan for both his monthly expenses and future financial needs. Kevin has a passion for helping those in a similar situation navigate the complex world of personal finance so they can pay down debt, plan for the future and live out their dreams. In addition to covering personal finance in depth on Loanry.com, Cashry.com, Debtry.com, Budgetry.com, Billry.com, Creditry.com and Taxry.com. Kevin shares his expertise with readers who want to create budget-friendly habits across the web.