To:  Bob Cook-Deegan
From:  Amber Johnson
Date:  February 8, 2000
Re:  Federal Mandate for Infertility Treatment Coverage by Insurance Providers

Statement of Issue:  6 million Americans currently suffer from a medical disorder resulting in infertility.   Because only 14%-17% of insurance companies provide coverage for fertility services, including assisted reproductive technologies, access to treatment is restricted to the affluent who pay high out-of-pocket expenses.   Without insurance coverage, costs are spread across a small fraction of the population, increasing per capita rates for treatment and encouraging physicians to favor quicker and cheaper practices that compromise quality of care and raise health care costs.

 Policy Options Policy Recommendation:  With rising usage rates of infertility treatment, along with rising rates of multiple gestation, quick reform is necessary to ensure patients have access to cost-effective, quality care.  Although state reform has worked in some areas, the time needed for broad implementation in states without current initiatives hurts the health of patients.  A federal mandate without significant restrictions, streamlining care and providing consistency between states, will increase access to many people in a short amount of time.  While this option costs money, individual burden will be very minimal.  Additionally, the costs of infertility treatments and ART have been steadily falling with rising use, suggesting that infertility treatments will be more affordable as the market grows through expanded insurance coverage.

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