The NJ State Legislature moved a bill that would expand insurance coverage to include fertility treatments for lesbian couples, closer to becoming a law.
Both the Assembly Financial Institutions and Insurance and Senate Commerce committees approved the measure on Thursday. If passed into law, infertility would be redefined; making it more inclusive to the growing number of lesbian couples trying to build families.
Infertility is currently defined under one of three conditions: a woman under the age of 35 and failing to conceive after trying for at least two years; a woman over 35 failing to conceive after trying for one year; or a partner must be deemed sterile or unable to carry a pregnancy. If a woman does not meet any of those criteria, she is denied coverage for fertility treatments.
“The outdated definition for infertility forces women to pay for fertility treatments out of pocket, making a difficult time in their lives even harder,” Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, D-Camden, was quoted in a statement. “By expanding insurance coverage for infertility treatments, we are helping to improve treatment options for all women in New Jersey.”
The new definition advanced in the bill on Thursday, would define infertility as “the disease or condition that results in the abnormal function of the reproductive system such that a person is not able to impregnate another person or conceive.”
One of the primary sponsors of the bill, Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, said that the bill goes beyond just updating a “discriminatory” law.
“It’s also an issue of women’s rights and equal rights,” she said in a statement.
The Assembly bill is now sent to the full chamber for consideration, while the Senate version goes to the Budget and Appropriations Committee. Tim Eustace, D-Maywood, the Assembly bill sponsor said he expects the bill to reach Governor Christie’s desk.
Dr. Sarah Hessler of The Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science thinks the time has come for the laws in New Jersey to catch up with society, “This legislation is long overdue. Hopefully, this will remove one of the barriers that women in same-sex relationships face in creating their families. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) as well as Intrauterine insemination (IUI) are necessary medical treatments for some lesbian women and should be covered by insurance. IRMS supports any legislation that promotes women’s health and everyone’s access to medical care.”
If you would like to help make a difference, please call your state Senator and urge them to vote to make this change.
Find your State Senator at http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/municipalities.asp
Refer to bill: Bill A1447 “Expands Infertility coverage under certain health insurance plans.”