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Will Obama Deal Lead to Free IVF?

Health advocates say President Barack Obama’s contraception compromise Friday, which requires insurance companies to provide birth control to employees, may boost efforts to mandate coverage for another reproductive issue: infertility.

By requiring insurance companies—and not employers—to offer free contraception to workers, the deal is a way to extend coverage to people who work for religious groups without forcing the organizations to pay for the contraceptives. The regulations, which give women access to birth control without co-pays or deductibles, could help make the case for covering fertility treatments such as IVF, says Kevin Flynn, president of Philadelphia-based HealthCare Advocates. “Someone is going to make the argument now you’re going to have to cover fertility,” he says.

Of course, not all advocates think today’s ruling will impact fertility treatments. Contraceptives are considered a form of preventive medicine that help improve women’s health and infant mortality rates, says Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center. Fertility treatments don’t fall under that umbrella, she says, and if they are covered on a broader scale it could likely be with a deductible or co-pay.

Still, others point out that “infertility,” or the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sex, is recognized as a disability by the American Disabilities Act. Indeed, currently 15 states have laws that require insurance companies to offer coverage for infertility treatments, according to Resolve: The National Infertility Association. And some advocates argue that the improved coverage of contraceptives may bring similar coverage to the rest of the nation. “If you’re going to mandate coverage for fertility controls, that includes both conception as well as prevention,” says  Dr. Jamie Grifo, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the NYU School of Medicine.

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    • Infertility is a symptom, and in most cases there are underline health issues that go along with it. Infertility should be covered…in a way all other health issues are covered. Try to find the root of the problem should be covered, fixing it should be covered, and if that can’t be fixed than do whats needed to handle the symptom (not being able to have a baby) just like all other health issues are covered. Many jump to infertility being the diagnosis when it is in fact a symptom.

    • Me and my husband are struggling with infertility and want to desperately have ivf done but we just can’t afford it. This would be awesome to help out those that really can’t have children. I suffer from endometriosis and know at least three other women that I work with that are having the same problem. IVF is a very expensive treatment that many people just simply can’t afford.

    • Here is the crux of the problem….Health insurance is “provided” as a benefit by employers and government via Medicare, Medicaid. Medical insurance should be purchased by “individuals” willing and able to do so. Companies should be freed from the escalating costs of medical care. The “government” should limit it’s safety net to “basic” care of those truly in need. Individuals could then buy the “coverage” they desire/need. We are headed to another Greek tragedy here in the U.S.. It’s time to learn how to take care of ourselves and shrink/reduce our dependence on government… Also time to reduce/end middle class entitlements and crony capitalism. Then maybe we would have a growth rate above the anemic 2-3 % and high enough to “lift all boats”.

    • The country would be broke covering infertility treatments.
      These are incredibly expensive, and have not been covered by company insurance for decades – and for good reason. I know, becuase my wife and I had to foot the bioll for her treatments. It prevented us from buying a home for two years just to get the money back for the down payment

    • If a woman has a right to not get pregnant, doesn’t she also have a right to get pregnant. They are both choices.

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