Surrogate insurance coverage needs to be addressed in all surrogacy agreements. Your contract needs to clearly state what forms of pregnancy health care and life insurance are in effect or will be obtained for the surrogate pregnancy, as well as what happens if later those policies are no longer applicable.
As you are creating your contract, you will need to address maternity care. From verifying that the surrogate mother has health coverage that will pay for the surrogate pregnancy, to deciding if life insurance needs to be paid for, these important issues need to be addressed.
First, your surrogacy attorney should verify with the surrogate’s primary health coverage company that surrogacy is, indeed, covered, and there are no exclusions. Have your lawyer do this instead of calling the insurance company yourself, as customer service representatives are confused about surrogacy and you are likely to get multiple answers.
If coverage is not available, or if the surrogate mother does not have pregnancy health care coverage, additional measures need to be taken. In surrogacy agreements, it is important that you discuss what surrogate insurance coverage will be used.
- Will it be the surrogate’s private health care?
- Will it be a policy that the intended parents have purchased?
- What happens if the surrogate loses her insurance, or the company decides to decline the claim?
In general, a surrogate should use her own health plan if available. Unless she has to acquire surrogate insurance coverage specifically for this surrogate pregnancy, the surrogate should pay for her own health insurance, just as she has been prior to the pregnancy.
If a policy needs to be taken out specifically for this pregnancy, then the financial responsibility of the policy is the intended parents’. If a surrogate should lose coverage of insurance, for instance, she loses her job which is providing the insurance, then it needs to be discussed what should happen. In most situations, COBRA is an option.
COBRA is a program that allows employees to keep their company provided health insurance plan for a temporary amount of time if they have lost their employment. The time limits are usually 12-24 months, depending on state and on circumstances, and can really help with loss of surrogate insurance coverage.
In order to utilize COBRA, the former employee would still be responsible for their monthly premiums. In addition, they would be required to pick up their employer’s portion of the premiums that they had previously paid.
So, for example, if the regular monthly premium that the former employee used to make was $200 a month, and the employer paid an additional $225 a month towards the insurance plan, then the former employee would be required to pay the entire $425 to use COBRA. Surrogacy agreements should discuss what will happen if COBRA is utilized.
- Will the intended parents pay for the entire premium?
- Will they pay the employer’s portion of the premium?
In the event that a surrogate loses health coverage during the pregnancy and is unable to obtain new coverage, it need to be clearly written in the contract that the intended parents are responsible for all medical bills associated with the pregnancy and delivery of their baby.
Life insurance (another form of surrogate insurance coverage) is brought up in many surrogacy agreements. It is common for a life insurance policy to be taken out for the surrogate mother for a period of one year, covering the entire surrogate pregnancy.
Most plans range from $100,000-500,000. In the contract, it should be discussed not only if a life insurance policy will be obtained, but who the benefactor of the policy will be.
For instance, some intended parents feel that they are investing a great amount of money in the surrogate pregnancy, and if their surrogate were to die unexpectedly, they would suffer a great financial loss. So some intended parents take out a policy on the surrogate with themselves as the benefactors.
Likewise, the surrogate will most likely feel that her family is entitled to a policy so that they will be well provided for in such a circumstance. Some surrogacy arrangements obtain two policies, some divide the policy and name all parties as benefactors, and some name just the surrogate’s family. Then other arrangements do not feel the need to obtain life insurance at all.
The contract should state, if a life insurance policy is to be obtained, who the benefactor is, how long the policy will be in effect, how much the policy is for, and who is to obtain the policy.