Nov 14, 2023 - News

New "infertility" definition could broaden coverage in Pennsylvania

Illustration of a stork holding a fountain pen in its beak.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

A new, more expansive definition of "infertility" could result in more help for hopeful LGBTQ+ and single parents.

Why it matters: Broader insurance coverage of fertility services, like egg freezing, for all people could be in the offing after a recent decision by an influential group of reproductive health care providers to redefine the condition.

State of play: The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) redefined infertility to include everyone — not just heterosexual couples — who need medical intervention to achieve pregnancy.

  • It's no longer limited to when a man and a woman can't get pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse or through intrauterine insemination (IUI) — or after six months of IUI for women over 35.
  • The updated language applies to anyone who needs help having children, regardless of relationship status, gender identity or sexual orientation.
States where IVF and infertility are insured
Data: Resolve; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

State of play: Pennsylvania currently doesn't require any insurance coverage for fertility services, per infertility advocacy group Resolve.

Zoom in: Despite the growing interest in this care — and more Philly employers like Comcast, Vanguard, and Temple Health offering fertility benefits to stay competitive in the labor market — insurance coverage of the often-pricey services remains limited.

What we're watching: While the new "infertility" definition creates one avenue for more inclusive coverage, Pennsylvania legislators are pursuing others.

  • State lawmakers are considering a handful of bills that would require health insurance plans to cover the diagnosis and treatment of infertility and fertility services.
  • Some bills would expand the definition of infertility to include coverage for LGBTQ+ individuals and surrogates.

Yes, but: Previous legislative attempts to expand these services have stalled.

What they're saying: A more inclusive definition of infertility is "a game-changer" because a number of insurance plans rely on the ASRM definition of "disease" to determine coverage, infertility specialist Lucky Sekhon told Axios.


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