According to the National Infertility Association, infertility affects 1 in 8 couples and 1 in 4 cannot afford treatment. Like other diseases, infertility should be covered by insurance, because everyone deserves the right to procreate. House Majority Leader Representative Valerie Longhurst and Senator Bryan Townsend are sponsoring a new bill, SB139, requiring insurance companies to cover fertility care services, as 15 other states, including New Jersey and Maryland, have already done. The fertility care services would include in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) procedures for persons, who along with their partner, suffer from a disease or condition that results in the inability to procreate or to carry a pregnancy to viability. This Act also requires that health insurance offered in this State provide coverage for fertility preservation for individuals diagnosed with cancer and other diseases, when medically necessary treatment could adversely affect their fertility.
The bill should be passed for several reasons. First, it closes a coverage gap. Many Delaware families diagnosed with infertility have to pay out-of-pocket for fertility care services as health insurance companies do not respect a right to procreate. And those out-of-pocket expenses can be prohibitive. One IVF cycle can cost between $15,000 and $25,000 and, on average, it takes 2 to 3 cycles to achieve pregnancy. Additionally, highly inflated managed care pharmacy prices for IVF medications, where families with coverage can pay as much as 100% more for medications compared to prices charged to self-pay families, often contribute to 25-50% or more of total IVF costs, which can quickly drain lifetime caps and severely limit overall IVF care options.
Second, with no fertility coverage requirement, Delaware is facing an economic disadvantage in attracting employees and employers, given that two neighboring states in New Jersey and Maryland do require the coverage. Many reproductive age residents intentionally change employers and leave Delaware to gain more attractive fertility care benefits.
Third, this bill will reduce or end a practice in the IVF process that often leads to multiple births (i.e. twins, triplets, etc), which, in turn, leads to higher costs all around. When people self-pay for IVF procedures, or have limited benefits, they often demand that two or more embryos be transferred to their uterus to increase the chance of success in that one cycle. And the reason for that is simple: as stated above, one cycle of treatment can cost between 15k and 25k. These people may not be able to afford another cycle, so they load up the embryos to be implanted. And more often than not, twins result. I have two friends who had that exact situation happen to them, and this is not to say that extra twin is or was not wanted. But everyone knows that twins are just more work and more expensive, not just for the couple, but for the hospitals and for all of us.
Don’t believe me? Well, several recent studies have found that the cost of perinatal and neonatal care for twins is about $100,000, whereas singleton pregnancies cost about $13,000. Triplet pregnancies can cost $400,000 or more. For every 100 pregnancies from IVF that are singletons (but could have been twins), about $8.7 million dollars is saved, on top of reduced pain and suffering for parents and premature babies.
Fourth and finally, this Act could increase the number of persons treated for infertility, but also increase the number of babies born in Delaware by 2-300 per year, thus increasing the state’s birth rate by 1-2% and providing a boost to the local economy, while also decreasing health care costs.
I am kinda amazed there are no Republican sponsors of this bill. I thought Republicans were the pro-life party? Shouldn’t they want more babies, more life, to be born?
SB139 – INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR OBSTETRICAL AND GYNECOLOGICAL SERVICES.
SPONSORS: Townsend, Longhurst, Ennis, Hansen, Henry, Poore, Baumbach, Bentz, Lynn, Mitchell, Paradee
YES VOTES: Bonini, Bushweller, Cloutier, Delcollo, Ennis, Hansen, Henry, Hocker, Lavelle, Lawson, Lopez, Marshall, McBride, McDowell, Pettyjohn, Poore, Richardson, Simpson, Sokola, Townsend, Walsh
NO VOTES: None
NOT VOTING: None
HISTORY: Passed Senate.
STATUS: Waiting on consideration in House