An estimate of the cost of in vitro fertilization services in the United States in 1995
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OBJECTIVE: To estimate the cost of adding IVF treatment to a standard health care benefits package. In vitro fertilization cost is defined as the average charge for a single cycle of treatment in an existing IVF program. DESIGN: Cost analysis. SETTING: Two hundred sixty IVF centers active in the United States in 1993. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: In vitro fertilization utilization and outcomes for 1993 were estimated from data in an existing registry. In vitro fertilization charges were determined from a 1993 survey of IVF clinics. The resulting expenditures for benefits and premiums were projected to 1995 together with the additional cost if utilization were to increase by 300% or 500%. RESULTS: In the United States in 1993 there were 31,718 IVF cycles for which the average charge was $6,233, leading to a total expenditure of approximately $197.70 million for IVF services in 1993. The projected cost of adding IVF services to a typical employer health plan in 1995 would be $2.79 per annum and the premium would be $3.14. Benefits and premium costs for a 300% utilization increase were $8.37 and $9.41, respectively, and for a 500% increase, $13.95 and $15.69, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The cost of IVF services would be a minute fraction of the annual cost of a typical family benefits program ($3,393). Savings from reduced utilization of alternative treatments would offset a portion of this increase. Increases in utilization rates should be controlled by clinical criteria.
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