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What are you willing to do to get insurance coverage for infertility?

By Blogger July 21, 2011 - 2:11pm

Now is the time to decide if you are okay with millions of Americans paying out of pocket for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, a medical condition which the US Supreme Court found should be included in the American Disabilities Act and inflicts 1 in 5 couples. Are you going to wait and see what happens or are you willing to take 30 minutes of your life and try to make a difference?

The Department of Health and Human Services will determine in the next couple of days which health benefits are included in the essential no-cost benefits in every health plan. It is not too late to use your voice and try to initiate change. In my experience, the final rally can make all the difference.

Please take the time to share your story and ask for infertility to be an essential benefit. Fertility Within Reach, www.fertilitywithinreach.org has information you can use to support your request. Please don’t wait another day. Act now and feel good about yourself for taking action. Below is the letter Fertility Within Reach sent to Secretary Sebelius. You can use it as a guide, but please make sure you use your own story and words. We have learned from legislators, mass produced letters do not make an impact. Your time and personal story is what makes the greatest impact.

The Honorable Kathleen Sebelius
Secretary of Health and Human Services
Office of the Secretary, United States Department of Health and Human Services
Hubert H. Humphrey Building
200 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 120F
Washington, DC 20201
Email: kathleen.sebelius@hhs.gov
Fax: 202-690-7203
Dear Secretary Sebelius,

I am writing to implore you consider the diagnosis and treatment of infertility to be included with essential no-cost benefits to every health plan.

Before building our family, my husband and I suffered from infertility for 14 years, seeking treatment in states without insurance coverage before moving to Massachusetts. I have dedicated my personal and professional life to educate people how to advocate for family building benefits and in 2010 I lobbied at the Massachusetts State House and am happy to report they passed a law which updated their infertility insurance coverage mandate. They did this because they recognized the cost savings associated with the timely diagnosis and treatment for the disease of infertility, which inflicts 1 in 5 couples of reproductive age.

Important facts supporting the health care coverage:
• In 1998 the U.S. Supreme Court found Bragdon v. Abbott (524 US 624), that reproduction is a “major life activity.” Infertility is a disability to be recognized in the American Disabilities Act.
• In 1998 6.1 million individuals were impacted by infertility, in 2011 the number is 7.3 million. Social and environmental factors are challenging our societal ability to reproduce.
• The cost of infertility services as a percent of the total health care premiums went down after the 1987 Massachusetts mandate, with total infertility costs making up only 0.41% of the premium. Study by Griffin & Panak (Fertility & Sterility, 1998).
• Most infertility cases, about 85 to 90 percent, are treated with conventional medical therapies, such as medication or surgery.
• In vitro fertilization and other similar treatments account for less than 3 percent of infertility services and about 0.07 percent of all U.S. health care costs.
• Without insurance coverage, couples make medical decisions based primarily on financial considerations rather than medical necessity. (Jain, et al., New England Journal of Medicine).
• 900 companies were surveyed in a 2006 employer survey conducted by consulting firm William M. Mercer. Of those that offered infertility coverage, 91% said they had NO INCREASE in healthcare costs as a result of adding this benefit.
• Insurance coverage avoids high-cost multiple births. In comparison to states without an insurance mandate, states with mandated infertility insurance have:
o A lower percentage of pregnancies with three or more fetuses;
o A lower number of embryos, per cycle, transferred into a woman’s uterus;
o Lower rates of multiple births.
For your convenience I have attached a PowerPoint presentation on the “Economic and Global Impact of Fertility Decline.” I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this further with you or a member of your staff.

Sincerely Yours,
Davina Fankhauser

Davina Fankhauser
President – Fertility Within Reach

Group Leader

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