Bills to Expand Infertility Insurance Introduced, Vetoed
In an attempt to expand private-sector insurance coverage of infertility services, Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) on March 2 introduced the Fair Access to Infertility Treatment and Hope Act of 2000 (FAITH). The bill would require group health insurance plans across the country to provide benefits for infertility diagnosis and treatment procedures that are considered nonexperimental. Under the measure, a maximum of four in vitro fertilization attempts would be covered, plus, for successful couples, another two attempts for a second child.
Introduction of FAITH by the New Jersey senator comes on the heels of the veto of a similar bill in January by New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman (R). That measure would have required health insurers in the state to provide coverage for infertility testing and diagnosis, as well as treatments such as in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer. To be eligible for the benefits, a person would have been required to have previously used all reasonable, less-expensive medically appropriate treatments, have had fewer than four egg retrievals and be under 45 years of age.
To date, 13 states have laws governing infertility benefits under private-sector health plans. In California, Connecticut and Texas, insurers are only required to offer to include such coverage to those purchasing health plans. The laws in Arkansas, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island and West Virginia require that infertility services be included in health plans, but the range of services that must be covered vary widely among the states.
Insurers and employers generally argue that the cost of mandating infertility-services coverage will cause insurance rates to increase, resulting in more uninsured Americans. However, recent studies show that the added cost to premiums may be only $3 per employee per year ("Drive for Insurance Coverage of Infertility Raises Questions of Equity, Cost," October 1999).