Fertility preservation coverage for at-risk patients OK’d
STATE HOUSE – With a final vote in the House today, the General Assembly has approved legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Maryellen Goodwin and Rep. Patricia A. Serpa to require health insurers in Rhode Island to cover fertility preservation services for patients undergoing medical treatments that could cause infertility.
The bill, which will now go to the governor, is aimed primarily at helping cancer patients, since treatments like radiation and chemotherapy can cause infertility.
“If infertility is a risk of the treatment a patient needs, fertility preservation is a medical need that should also be covered by insurance. It’s not acceptable that a person who is already coping with cancer and its treatment, for example, should also be dealt the blow of being potentially robbed of the ability to have children when there is a way to protect them. Insurers should be covering fertility preservation in this situation because it is necessary to protect patients from losing a very precious biological ability,” said Senator Goodwin (D-Dist. 1, Providence).
Said Representative Serpa (D-Dist. 27, West Warwick, Coventry, Warwick), “This will affect only a handful of patients in Rhode Island each year, but for those that it does, the stakes are high. On one hand, better cancer detection means that more people are getting the treatment they need in earlier stages, including young people whose cancer might have previously gone undetected for a long time. On the other hand, when someone young undergoes treatment, they shouldn’t have to sacrifice their ability to have children someday in the future, nor should they be faced with a choice of either accepting that loss or trying to pay for fertility preservation themselves. Fertility is part of health, and it should be covered as part of their treatment.”
The legislation (2017-S 0821A, 2017-H 6170A) would require insurers to cover standard fertility preservation services when a medically necessary medical treatment may directly or indirectly cause infertility.
Common cancer treatments, including radiation, chemotherapy and some hormone therapies, can compromise a person’s ability to achieve pregnancy during his or her reproductive years.
For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903