Should insurance companies cover the expenses of fertility preservation when a young cancer patient is at risk of losing their fertility as a result of their treatment? This is what members of the Michigan delegation asked the American Medical Association (AMA) to support by lobbying for federal legislation that would require insurers to cover fertility preservation when cancer treatments could result in infertility. As a result of their efforts, the resolution was adopted.
The new AMA policy states two points: 1) Support payment for fertility preservation, and 2) lobby for appropriate federal legislation requiring payment for oncofertility. This new policy would treat infertility as a medical condition, or a treatment-related adverse side effect. In other words, the patient is not “choosing” to undergo in vitro fertilization, the cancer and/or its treatment make that decision for them if biological parenthood is at stake.
Another way this policy would have a positive impact on the cancer community is that more young cancer patients would have the option to preserve their fertility, as currently, those services are cost-prohibitive for many who might otherwise seek them. In addition, often those high costs are what keep doctors from suggesting fertility preservation, and it prevents patients from even seeing it as a viable option.
The timing of the AMA support is good because the CA bill, AB 912, is working its way through the California legislature requiring insurers to cover expenses for standard fertility preservation services when a necessary medical treatment may directly or indirectly cause iatrogenic infertility. As we mentioned in a blog earlier this month, the California Assembly passed Bill AB 912 on May 29th and on July 10th, the California Senate Health Committee will address it.
The next steps toward including fertility preservation in insurance plans are state and federal level lobbying, and continued education and awareness about this critical issue. Please continue to support fertility preservation coverage by reaching out to your local government and lawmakers and encouraging them to recognize this important policy!