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An Indiana lawmaker has introduced, House Bill 1059, aimed at health insurance companies adding fertility treatments for its members. According to Representative Robin Shackleford the bill is intended to help individuals diagnosed with infertility by making treatments like in vitro fertilization more affordable and less cost prohibitive. If passed, individuals will not have to shoulder the cost alone.
“I’ve heard a lot of the stories where women have literally drained out their 401k,” Shackleford told Fox News. “We need to see how we can level the playing field, help this service where everyone can afford it.”
Cher Kimbrough is described as the inspiration behind House Bill 1059. Her own personal experiences of infertility prompted her to become an advocate.
Now pregnant with twins, Kimbrough and her partner, Samuel, spent roughly $57,000 on treatments. Due to the high medical costs, it took the couple five years to become pregnant. They eventually traveled from their home state of Indiana to New York for the remainder of their fertility treatments.
“I found the place in New York and it was $4,000 [for treatments]. Right away I’m like what’s the catch? Four thousand dollars for the same thing they’re charging 20 grand for in Indy,” Kimbrough told Fox News. She continued, “It’s like we have to be equal here. And if there’s couples hurting and there’s science available that can heal that hurt, science needs to be accessible for everyone.”
It’s estimated that one in eight women are diagnosed with the disease of infertility. Yet, health insurance companies have ignored this coverage. According to Resolve, The National Infertility Association, they along with other organizations continue to fight for these health insurance rights for both men and women with this medical need.
“The truth is, if an insurance company is ‘for profit’ – like all companies – they need to be profitable in order to survive. They have a responsibility to their shareholders. Those profits are determined by the difference between what they collect in premiums and what they pay out in claims – taking into account sales, marketing, underwriting and administrative costs. Some insurance companies view IVF as a ‘high-risk’ benefit and given the fact that many do not see it as a medical necessity, it is easy for them to make the case not to cover IVF.”
Advocates for House Bill 1059 are hopeful that it will transform traditional medical insurance coverage so that everyone has the right to affordable fertility treatments.