Inequity between male and female coverage in state infertility laws

Capsule:
Inequities exist within state insurance laws that mandate coverage for infertility care. Only 8 of 15 state laws include coverage for male partners, placing undue burden on the female partner.

Authors:
James M. Dupree, M.D., M.P.H., Ryan M. Dickey, B.Mus., Larry I. Lipshultz, M.D.

Volume 105, Issue 6, Pages 1519-1522

Abstract:

Objective:
To analyze state insurance laws mandating coverage for male factor infertility and identify possible inequities between male and female coverage in state insurance laws.

Design:
We identified states with laws or codes related to infertility insurance coverage using the National Conference of States Legislatures’ and the National Infertility Association’s websites. We performed a primary, systematic analysis of the laws or codes to specifically identify coverage for male factor infertility services.

Setting:
Not applicable.

Patient(s):
None.

Intervention(s):
Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
The presence or absence of language in state insurance laws mandating coverage for male factor infertility care.

Result(s):
There are 15 states with laws mandating insurance coverage for female factor infertility. Only eight of those states (California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia) have mandates for male factor infertility evaluation or treatment. Insurance coverage for male factor infertility is most specific in Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, yet significant differences exist in the male factor policies in all eight states. Three states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York) exempt coverage for vasectomy reversal.

Conclusion(s):
Despite national recommendations that male and female partners begin infertility evaluations together, only 8 of 15 states with laws mandating infertility coverage include coverage for the male partner. Excluding men from infertility coverage places an undue burden on female partners and risks missing opportunities to diagnose serious male health conditions, correct reversible causes of infertility, and provide cost-effective treatments that can downgrade the intensity of intervention required to achieve a pregnancy.

Translate »