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Legislation to Expand Access to Fertility Treatment

March 1, 2022

For Immediate Release
March 1, 2022
Contact: Amanda Farnan, or (202) 355-8431

Councilmember Christina Henderson Introduces Legislation to Expand Access to Fertility Treatment

Washington, DC – Today, Councilmember Henderson introduced the Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2022. This legislation would expand coverage provided through private insurers, Medicaid and the DC Healthcare Alliance to include diagnosis and treatment for infertility.

“Many people don’t anticipate that they will have difficulty conceiving a child. Once they realize that they do and that there is a clear solution, they are then met with another obstacle – cost. One cycle of IVF alone can cost between $20,000 to $25,000, and insurance providers are not required to cover this treatment. This legislation would change that, requiring private, Medicaid, and DC Alliance insurers to cover assisted reproductive technologies,” said Councilmember Henderson. “State mandated coverage has been shown to increase the use of infertility services 3-fold, which is also linked to better public health outcomes. It is time for the District to join 19 states that have already mandated this coverage.”

We know that women without insurance coverage are 3 times more likely to discontinue treatment after 1 cycle, compared to women with insurance coverage. Insurance coverage also reduces the likelihood of births of multiples to one mother, given that the financial pressure to transfer more than one to two embryos is reduced. This in turn reduces the risk of complications and adverse health effects for the mother. Currently, 19 states have passed fertility insurance coverage laws, including neighboring Maryland and West Virginia.

Further, Black and brown moms often wade through infertility silently and do not seek treatments like IVF as frequently as white mothers. Specifically, according to the CDC’s most recent analysis, 8% of Black women age 25 to 44 seek medical help to get pregnant, while 15% of white women do so. As mentioned, state mandated coverage is proven to increase utilization of assisted reproductive technologies.

This bill would mandate private insurers, Medicaid, and the DC Healthcare Alliance to offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment of infertility. This legislation explicitly prohibits health insurers from:

  • Imposing additional costs, waiting periods, or other limitations on converge for the diagnosis of infertility;
  • Placing pre-existing condition exclusions or waiting periods on coverage for the treatment of infertility, or using prior treatment for infertility as a basis for excluding, limiting or otherwise restricting coverage; and
  • Limiting on coverage for fertility treatment based on a class protected under the Human Rights Act.

I look forward to working with my colleagues to enhance coverage offered for future mothers and families in the District. The Expanding Access to Fertility Treatment Amendment Act of 2022 was co-introduced by Councilmembers Mary M. Cheh, Brianne K. Nadeau, Anita Bonds, and Charles Allen.