Dr. Catherine Racowsky
President, American Society for Reproductive Medicine
While exact numbers are difficult to find, we know that too many Americans lack good, comprehensive health insurance, and that far too many health insurance policies fail to provide coverage for infertility treatments.
We can debate why this happened, but surely, we can all agree that this is wrong. The purpose of health insurance is to allow patients to get care when they are sick. Yet for some reason, too many insurance companies and the employers who purchase employee health insurance coverage feel they can exclude coverage for the disease of infertility.
I hear over and over again from my colleagues in the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) how frustrating it is to see patients, diagnose their infertility, and recommend treatment, only then to discover that they don’t have insurance coverage. Some patients are able to save or borrow so they can afford their care; many, however, are forced to forgo care and give up their dreams of having children.
Changing the insurance landscape
Working with our colleagues around the country, ASRM has been pursuing laws in those states that will require insurance plans to include infertility coverage. This year alone, we already have strong efforts underway in Colorado, Washington, and California. In the last few years, New York, Delaware, and New Jersey have passed laws requiring coverage. But even now, only 17 states have any laws relating to infertility care coverage, and many are not sufficiently comprehensive to be helpful to patients.
I urge everyone to join us in the effort to ensure that every American who needs fertility assistance has access to the first-class medical care ASRM members provide. Find out if your state has a law requiring coverage. If it does not, contact your state legislator and demand it. Even better, contact your member of Congress and ask that insurance discrimination against those with infertility be stopped. Together, we can make this happen.
Dr. Catherine Racowsky, President, American Society for Reproductive Medicine, [email protected]