A Philadelphia reproductive health clinic has offered free fertility tests to teachers as a back-to-school special.
The doctors at RMA at Jefferson are offering the discount for the month of August as a way of raising awareness about fertility issues, and supporting teachers.
"When you think of going from August to September," said Dr. Jackie Gutmann, "This is the time when back-to-school ads are on TV. It made us think of teachers and a time when we reorient in that direction."
The offer underscores huge coverage gaps for reproductive health and fertility treatments in insurance plans.
Neither Pennsylvania nor federal law requires health insurance plans to cover fertility issues, said Sean Tipton, a spokesman for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. That spurs more marketing among fertility docs.
“You see a lot more direct to consumer advertising among fertility specialists because it’s patients paying their own bills,” Tipton said. “You don’t see emergency rooms advertising the price for a broken femur.”
Saburah Flateman Posner, the dean of students at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, said she would have jumped at the free testing "in a heartbeat." She's now the mom of twins, born in 2013 after in-vitro fertilization at RMA.
The whole process cost about $3,000 to $5,000. Without the insurance coverage offered by her and her wife's jobs, it could have run $30,000.
The test on offer is the Anti-Mullerian Hormone exam, which helps researchers determine the number of eggs a woman has left and their quality.
This particular exam is good for a woman who isn't necessarily experiencing fertility problems but is thinking about her biological clock.
While nearly all teachers have health insurance, not all insurance plans cover fertility issues. This offer allows teachers to get an evaluation without that diagnosis.
Gutmann said this is part of a suite of tests a woman suffering from overall fertility problems would undergo.
It's a blood test and results are back in two week, Gutmann said.
While men are a quite visible part of the teaching profession, the clinic -- which is focused on womens' health - is not offering semen analysis or other male fertility exams.