Sen. Martha Hennessey is sponsoring a 2019 bill that would require health insurers to cover some fertility treatments and fertility preservation.
The bill, SB 279, specifically requires coverage for:
- Diagnosis of the cause of infertility
- Fertility treatment, if it is medically necessary
- Fertility preservation prior to surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or other medical treatment that may cause infertility
The bill would not apply to self-funded employer plans, which are regulated by the federal government.
Seventeen other states – including Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island – require some coverage for fertility treatment and/or fertility preservation.
Arguments for fertility coverage
Supporters of SB 279 note that fertility treatment and preservation are incredibly expensive for patients, while infertility takes a terrible emotional toll. With the average cost of adoption through an agency ranging from $20,000 to $45,000, adoption isn’t an affordable alternative. Lack of insurance coverage for IVF can also push some patients to choose risky multiple births in order to save money, which can result in far more costly medical interventions down the road.
Arguments against fertility coverage
Opponents of SB 279 argue that any new mandate will disrupt the insurance market and increase costs for consumers.
The Affordable Care Act also requires the state to cover some of those increased costs if it adds a new insurance mandate, so this bill could result in a new cost for taxpayers, as well.