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Assembly Democratic Bill to Expand Fertility Coverage in NJ Advances

Bill Sponsored by Lampitt, Vainieri Huttle, McKeon, Mukherji, Holley, Caride, Downey

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, John McKeon, Raj Mukherji, Jamel Holley, Marlene Caride, and Joann Downey to increase fertility coverage for New Jersey families was advanced by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

Under current law, hospital, medical and health service corporations, commercial group insurers and health maintenance organizations are required, in certain circumstances, to provide coverage under group policies for medically necessary expenses incurred in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility.

The bill (A-1447) expands the availability of insurance coverage for infertility-related health benefits to certain women that are currently denied coverage for those benefits under certain health insurance plans. The bill would redefine “infertility” as (1) 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; or (2) a determination of infertility by a physician licensed to practice medicine and surgery in this state.

The legislation states that due to the current definition of infertility certain women such as same sex partners are not qualified to receive coverage for these benefits.

“No one should be denied coverage for health services due to their sexual orientation,” said Lampitt (D-Camden, Burlington). “New Jersey has always been on the front lines of the fight for equality, but outdated regulation like this continues to hold us back.”

“It’s time to remove certain conditions from current laws to ensure that any woman who wants to begin or grow her family has the support she needs to do so,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Times have changed and so have the constructs of family and relationships. Current law does not reflect the needs of today’s woman in today’s society.”

“We must do more to support women in New Jersey and to provide them access to the tools that will help them live their best lives,” said McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). “Addressing the limitations current law places on fertility coverage under certain health plans.”

“The outdated definition for infertility forces women to pay for fertility treatments out of pocket, making a difficult time in their lives even harder,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “By expanding insurance coverage for infertility treatments, we are helping to improve treatment options for all women in New Jersey.”

“All women, regardless of lifestyle choices, should be covered for the treatments they need to start a family,” said Holley (D-Union). “Times have changed and now the law, policies need to follow suit to ensure that we do not purposely alienate anyone from the treatment and services they need.”
“Residents are being denied access to infertility treatments they need in order to start their families,” said Caride (D-Bergen, Passaic). “It is wrong and this legislation aims to correct it.”

“No one should be denied health coverage. Period,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “Women starting families, whether single or in a same-sex relationship or married, should receive the support they need from their health care provider.”

The current statutory definition of infertility requires a woman under the age of 35 to have unprotected intercourse for at least two years without being able to conceive, a woman over the age of 35 to have unprotected intercourse for one year without being able to conceive, or a partner to have been deemed medically sterile or unable carry a pregnancy to live birth. Women who do not meet the current definition for infertility are denied coverage for these benefits.

The bill now goes to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.