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Delaware lawmakers propose requiring insurers to cover fertility treatments

Delaware Public Media

Delaware health insurers could soon start covering fertility health services. The proposal recently passed the Delaware Senate.

Legislation sponsored by State Sen. Bryan Townsend requires health insurance to cover fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization.

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is where an egg is fertilized in a test tube and then implanted in the womb. One cycle of IVF can cost up to $25,000.

Townsend said it’s unaffordable to some families who have to pay out-of-pocket for fertility services.

“By having a more reasonable health insurance coverage for fertility care, you’re much more likely to be able to do it the best medical way, to have the single baby that you’re looking for, you’re hoping for and have lower cost," he said. "So actually it’s a win win win win for everyone.”

Because of a lack of coverage, some women get several embryos implanted in one cycle to increase the chance of success. Having more than one baby at a time can lead to low birth weight and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But Townsend said states mandating health insurance coverage have lower rates of multiple births, which improves newborn health and costs a lot less.

“So this just makes a lot of sense to restructure the kind of care that we’re requiring large employers to provide," he said. "So a lot more people are going to be able to afford this and have better outcomes.”

Townsend said his bill could lead to hundreds of more births in Delaware every year.

The bill would also cover preserving the fertility of people who are diagnosed with a medical condition that could affect their ability to become parents.

Religious organizations, employers who self-insure and companies with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from the mandate.

The legislation is now in the Delaware House.

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