The Washington Post
recently came out with an article about health insurance coverage for infertility treatments. With the rapid growth of fertility care options and advances in IVF and other related fertility technology, more and more people are utilizing fertility treatment options to help them have children. Unfortunately, the article points out, coverage for infertility these days is not a part of many plans, even for businesses in states that mandate that insurance plans cover infertility.
A survey conducted for Resolve: The National Infertility Association back in 2006 found that only about one out of every five employers cover fertility care treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). While the major reason that employers seemed to skip fertility treatment was concerns about what it would do to the premiums, over 90 percent of employees that offered fertility care insurance reported that it had not significantly increased their costs.
Michelle Andrews of the Post writes that, "Even if a plan covers IVF, it may cover only a certain number of cycles, or attempts, or cap the dollar amount it will pay for services… Other wrinkles can also trip up would-be parents. For example, Maryland's law requires coverage of in vitro fertilization but stipulates that it be performed with the "spouse's sperm," a tough hurdle for same-sex couples or those with male infertility problems."
Andrews cites a statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that one in every eight couples of childbearing age is infertile. That's a whopping 12.5%, higher than many of the other ailments that are more commonly covered.
The Institute of Medicine has assembled a group of experts to deliberate on many of the issues surrounding assisted reproduction and fertility treatment in light of new opportunities and regulations that are coming into the forefront of public consciousness. One of the primary concerns is trying to determine which essential health benefits should be included in polices available through state-based insurance exchanges starting in 2014. Recommendations that come from this committee will go to the Department of Health and Human Services for approval.