Savino, Simotas want to expand fertility treatment insurance coverage

Gazette photo by Forrest Miller Sen. Diane Savino, left, and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas are sponsoring the Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act or FAFTA (S.3148-a/A.2646) which would require that all health insurance providers in New York state cover in vitro fertilization and fertility preservation treatments.

Two lawmakers are pushing legislation that would require insurance companies to cover in vitro fertility treatments for all New Yorkers while expanding access to other procedures.

Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, D-Astoria, and Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, stood with families in the Capitol on Wednesday to call on their fellow lawmakers to pass their fertility preservation coverage bill.

The Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act or FAFTA (S.3148-a/A.2646) would require that all health insurance providers in New York state cover in-vitro fertilization and fertility preservation treatments. It would also repeal what Simotas and Savino are calling “discriminatory” restrictions for coverage based on a patient’s length or quality of life, medical dependency, disability, or personal characteristics.

Currently, New York state employees receive coverage for in-vitro fertility treatment, however, there is no requirement for the general public.

“New York lags behind many other states that require insurers to cover such treatment,” Savino said. “It is time to pass this important bill so that women have affordable access to this procedure.”

This bill would also provide a clear definition of infertility as a disease which is characterized by the inability to impregnate or conceive or the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse.

Statistically, one in eight individuals or couples have trouble getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.

In New York, it is estimated that nearly half of the individuals affected by infertility lack the necessary insurance coverage for treatments.

“When people struggle with infertility they are dealing with a heartbreaking medical condition,” Simotas said, “so it is unconscionable that in vitro fertilization, which is the gold standard of treatment, is so expensive that it’s out-of-reach for couples wanting to have children.”

Simotas and Savino were joined by Dr. Robert Kiltz, the founder and director of the Central New York Fertility Center.

“Over many years I’ve personally delivered hundreds of babies,” Kiltz said. “Two things I know; one, the immense joy and happiness a new mom or dad has when there has been infertility and now they have their new baby. Second, over the years there has been a huge improvement in the science of helping bring a new baby into the world for people who have the disease of infertility or have to have treatments for cancer and other diseases that can destroy their fertility.”

Gazette photo by Forrest Miller

The bill would also mandate that insurance companies cover fertility preservation services for patients undergoing medical treatments such as surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy which may compromise their future ability to conceive a child.

The press conference was also attended by members of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, which has voiced their support for this bill.

The bill is currently in the Senate Insurance Committee and the Assembly Ways and Means Committee. It has a combined 35 additional sponsors in both houses. If passed, the law would take effect in January and there are no anticipated costs to the state.