Senate Passes Bipartisan Bill to Increase Access to Family Building Health Care
HB 1158 would Provide Insurance Coverage for Fertility Treatments for Families
DENVER – Today, House Bill 1158 The Colorado Building Families Act sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg (D-Boulder) and Senator Faith Winter (D-Westminster)passed through the Senate on a bipartisan 21 to 9 vote with 5 excused. This legislation would expand access and remove economic barriers to fertility treatment by requiring health benefit plans to cover diagnosis of infertility, treatment for infertility, and fertility preservation services. According to the Centers for Disease Control one in eight Americans suffer from infertility. Men, women and those that identify outside the gender binary are affected by infertility equally.
“While there is no one magic silver bullet to addressing infertility concerns for parents in waiting, there is medical treatment available, and we have to make sure that it’s affordable and accessible to every Coloradan,” said Majority Leader Fenberg. “I’m hopeful now that this bill has passed both chambers with bipartisan support, it will be that much more attainable for families waiting to fulfill their dreams of parenthood.”
“For too many families the financial burden is the greatest challenge they must overcome to fulfill their dreams of parenthood,” said Senator Winter. “Becoming a parent should not be a luxury for the wealthy, but affordable to all Colorado families. By providing insurance coverage for fertility treatments we can increase access, remove economic obstacles, and ensure that all Coloradans that want to can start a family.”
Even though infertility is a disease as determined by the American Medical Association, insurance coverage for fertility care is limited. House Bill 1158 will reduce the financial strain on families while minimally impacting insurance premiums. In other states, premiums have increased by around $1.00 per month per member and by only 55 cents in the state of New York. In some states, costs are estimated to slightly decrease.
“While it affects a large number of people, infertility is not often talked about as a public health issue, “said Crystal Wilson from Colorado Fertility Advocates. “Imagine if your doctor told you had kidney problems, but insurance wouldn’t cover the diagnostic testing. Or you were injured serving your country, but the treatment for your injury wouldn’t be paid for. This is a medical issue that should be covered like any other.”
“Cancer is a lot to swallow, and it comes with so much more baggage than anyone expects or even warns you of,” said Valeria Pernas, a cancer survivor who was forced to raise money to preserve her fertility before undergoing lifesaving treatment. “For health insurance to cover the costs of fertility preservation to lift some financial burden off of cancer patients like me is absolutely crucial for a patient’s livelihood and their quality of life during and after treatment.”
By providing insurance coverage for fertility, Colorado will join 17 other states across the nation that are increasing access to necessary healthcare treatments and standing up for hardworking families. The Colorado Building Families Act, will now head to Governor Jared Polis for his signature.
About Colorado Fertility Advocates:Colorado Fertility Advocates is a non-profit organization supporting families, advocating for fertility friendly legislation in Colorado, setting statewide industry standards, providing education and networking opportunities for fertility professionals and advocates.