Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law this week, legislation (HB 7124) to require insurance coverage of fertility preservation for insured individuals diagnosed with cancer, or whenever this treatment is medically necessary. The bill unanimously passed the House in late May and unanimously passed the Senate earlier this month.
Specifically, the new law amends the existing insurance requirement for infertility coverage in the state by changing the definition of infertility. Previously, it was defined as “the condition of a presumably healthy individual, who is unable to conceive or produce conception or sustain a successful pregnancy during a one-year period.” The new law removes the words “presumably healthy” from the definition, and extends it to include those for whom fertility services are “medically necessary.” The new definition means the condition of an individual who is unable to conceive or produce conception or sustain a successful pregnancy during a one-year period or such treatment is medically necessary.
The changes apply to individual health insurance policies providing coverage delivered, issued for delivery, amended, renewed or continued on or after January 1, 2018.
Championing an original version of the bill, was State Rep. Matthew Lesser, a cancer survivor who elected to preserve his gametes prior to cancer treatment. Also instrumental in the bill’s passage was patient advocate Melissa Thompson who was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer just five weeks after giving birth to her daughter. Melissa was empowered to work to advance the bill after learning that she would have to freeze her eggs if she wanted more children but that insurance would not cover the fertility preservation procedure. ASRM applauds both Rep. Lesser and Melissa Thompson for channeling their personal experiences into an advocacy awareness campaign that brought about access to this vital care for cancer patients, and others.
ASRM sent out the following press release today.
Statement of Richard J. Paulson, MD
President, American Society for Reproductive Medicine
“We applaud the leaders in Connecticut for passing a first-in-the-nation bill to mandate insurance coverage that will allow cancer patients to access treatment to protect their fertility. Thanks to advances in oncology, more and more patients of reproductive age are beating their cancer. Often, these treatments end or impair their ability to have children after successful completion. Working with our oncology colleagues we can, in many cases, preserve the fertility of these patients. Too often, lack of insurance coverage creates a financial barrier that keeps patients from getting access to these fertility preserving treatments. Thanks to passage of this precedent setting legislation, patients in Connecticut will not have to choose between their own health, and their ability to have children.”