The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act significantly increased the number of Americans with health insurance and has greatly improved access to health care services. However, states retain considerable jurisdiction over what benefits must be offered. The lack of a federal mandate for fertility preservation coverage results in a patchwork of benefits dependent on state statutes and regulation. Pediatric, adolescent and unmarried patients diagnosed with cancer or autoimmune diseases that impact fertility are often excluded from such coverage.Methods:
We analyzed legislative and regulatory efforts in 10 states to determine the breadth of fertility preservation coverage in private, employer based insurance plans and Medicaid, with particular interest in coverage for pediatric and adolescent patients.Results:
A total of 15 states require coverage of fertility preservation in private insurance plans, with 5 states extending this benefit only to females. The statutes differ in terms of whom the coverage extends to based on marital status, diagnosis, length of fertility problems and monetary limit of the benefit. Fertility preservation is not a mandatory benefit under federal Medicaid regulation. However, states can opt to include it in their state Medicaid plan. No state currently covers fertility preservation as an optional benefit.Conclusions:
Coverage of fertility preservation is extremely limited in scope of benefits and the number of states that require such benefits. State governments can increase access to a fertility preservation benefit by removing spousal criteria and expanding diagnostic criteria, and by including the benefit in Medicaid plans.