Update after health care reform passed: Even After Health Care Reform, Insurance Companies Don’t Have to Cover Infertility
It depends, according to this report by Sabrina Eaton in The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
During the election campaign, President Obama told Planned Parenthood that he supported expanding “reproductive services” and including them in his proposed reforms to the health care system.
But legislators in the House and Senate have not yet decided if the public option will be included in the bill they send to the President. And even if it is:
Health care experts say a revamped system is more likely to pay for birth control than high tech fertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization because it’s more common for insurance plans to cover birth control.
Let’s hope reproductive services are covered and that we do get the public option. Forcing private insurance companies to compete with the government’s public plan would encourage them to expand their coverage of fertility treatments, which are not covered by enough US private health insurance plans:
Infertility treatments are less commonly covered by insurance [than birth control services], although some plans cover surgery to clear blocked Fallopian tubes and prescription drugs to induce ovulation as part of their regular surgical and prescription drug coverage.
The trade group for physicians who treat infertility — the American Society of Reproductive Medicine — estimates just 20 percent of insurance plans currently pay for high tech infertility treatments like in-vitro fertilization.
The group’s spokesman, Sean Tipton, says it’s too early to tell whether health care reform proposals will cover such fertility treatments. He expects Congress will avoid listing the procedures it wants covered, leaving the ultimate decisions to HHS.
“Who knows?” he said. “The bills have not gotten into that level of specificity.”