by Melissa Brisman, Esq. and Lauren Murray, Esq. for FertilityAuthority
Health Care Reform
There has been no shortage of debate over President Barack Obama’s plans to reform the health care system in this country. Now that details about our new comprehensive health care reform legislation are coming to light, we find ourselves reflecting on how the new legislation will impact reproductive law and the field of infertility.
The infertile individuals and couples who come to our agency to match with a surrogate or gestational carrier or who come to our law office for reproductive law legal advice may criticize the new legislation for its silence with respect to infertility. It’s true, the legislation does not expand coverage for infertility procedures or require coverage for such procedures. Further, there is no information at this time about how this new comprehensive legislation will affect already existing state benefit mandates which require health insurance companies to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility.
These infertile individuals and couples may also criticize the new legislation because it may limit their ability to save for their medical treatments on a tax-free basis. The new legislation caps contributions to flexible spending accounts at $2,500 starting in 2013 and the threshold for itemized deductions for unreimbursed medical expenses is scheduled to increase from 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income to ten percent.
At the same time, the new health care legislation guarantees coverage for maternity care. It also provides women with direct access to obstetricians and gynecologists without a referral, and protects obstetrical and gynecological ultrasounds from coverage cuts. This coverage guarantee is momentous for couples who require the services of a gestational carrier and for women who are contemplating acting as gestational carriers.
Coverage for Surrogacy?
Insurance coverage is one of the most difficult issues facing an individual or couple, as intended parents, who seek to have a child through a gestational carrier or surrogate.