There's been a lot of press about military surrogates, especially in the last few years. It seems we, as military dependents, are hot commodities because TriCare doesn't completely exclude surrogacy from its coverage. The only problem with that is that military surrogates are becoming more and more popular and TriCare is getting more and more stingy. A military surrogate group I'm a member of has more horror stories when using TriCare than successes.
The situation happens like this: TriCare refuses claims, sends a certified letter to the surrogate requesting her contract and then flat-out refuses to pay for anything. A few women are actually being asked to provide contracts for surrogacies that they completed years ago that TriCare had initially paid for.
Before you get your panties in a twist, yes, I understand that TriCare isn't technically an insurance company, but rather a government organization paid for by taxpayers and it's a privilege, blah blah blah. Here's what I don't get, aren't the IPs that pay taxes deserving of a child? Shouldn't they be allowed to have a baby without having to jump through ridiculous hoops? Honestly, (and here's the part where you start to hate me), I think that TriCare is better serving surrogate contracts than it is covering half its beneficiaries. There's a military stereotype that's fairly accurate for most families and it really bothers me. Men join as early as possible, marry before they leave for Basic and babies are popped out as fast as they can. It's not uncommon to find a woman under 25 with at least 3-4 children and 95% of them are on some sort of state assistance. It's also said that every family with at least one child ranked E5 and below qualifies for WIC and there is definitely an overabundance of military families on WIC. Why not teach self-sufficiency and money management instead? Forgive me, military baby factories, if I'd like my son to have the best I can give him WITHOUT state assistance. Forgive me if you won't find me standing in line for my WIC checks or food stamps.
Alas, I get sidetracked. My first call to TriWest, I was assured that they would cover everything during the surrogate pregnancy as though it were my own pregnancy with the exception of how it would be billed. Andrea (the rep) said nothing about the clauses or anything of the sort and simply explained the coverage in-network and the point-of-service cost-sharing out-of-network.
A little more prodding...Willy, today, reiterated the clauses and transferred me to the claims department where Carolyn told me she couldn't guarantee any payments because the third party liability division (coupled with JAG) handled all of the surrogate contracts and claims. Of course, they didn't have a phone number so I'm drafting a lovely letter in an attempt to gather some information from them.
My favorite option is a home birth with a midwife. Much cheaper and something I've always wanted. It's all out-of-pocket though and not an option with a multiple birth so the situation gets a bit more tricky, but it's definitely an option for now.