State lawmakers demand action on PA Fertility Act
Lawmakers want to improve insurance coverage for fertility treatments in PA
Rep. Jennifer M. O'Mara April 26, 2022 | 1:56 PM
HARRISBURG, April 26 – In an effort to shed light on Pennsylvania’s need to modernize its health care marketplaces to include fertility treatments during National Infertility Awareness Week, state lawmakers hosted a news conference Tuesday on the PA Fertility Act, or H.B. 2142, and its companion bill in the Senate, S.B. 989.
State lawmakers discussed the myriad issues affecting thousands of Pennsylvania residents attempting to secure fertility treatments. Infertility affects one in 10 people, it equally affects men and women, and – without insurance coverage for fertility treatments – the average costs for starting a family through infertility treatment ($15,000 to $85,000) prices many working- and middle-class workers out of the realm of possibilities.
“Just to give you an idea of what many aspiring families are facing, one day my insurance had not been loaded and our bill for that day came to $15,000,” said State Rep. Jennifer O’Mara, who has undergone needed fertility treatments in the wake of her husband suffering injuries as a result of his work as a combat veteran. “This is the sad reality for too many hardworking people across Pennsylvania attempting to start a family.”
O’Mara and state Reps. Steve Malagari and Sara Innamorato are co-authors of the PA Fertility Act.
“Regardless of the how or the why someone has decided to receive fertility treatments, there is one universal thread at the forefront of convenience,” State Sen. Amanda Cappelletti said. “They are cost-prohibitive and often inaccessible, and as legislators there is plenty we can do to ensure family building options are accessible and affordable to all Pennsylvanians.”
The PA Fertility Act would guarantee fertility care in the state’s marketplaces, modernizing the state’s policies and helping workers and people attempting to start a family.
“I joined my colleagues on the Capitol steps today because we want to make it possible for the 1.5 million people in PA who could use medical assistance to start a family start receiving it,” said Malagari, who counts himself among that number. “If the PA Fertility Act is passed, it would change lives. PA residents could start a family now, without emptying their life savings or risking bankruptcy. Starting a family would no longer depend on how much money you have in your bank account or where you are employed.”
The PA Fertility Act would also ensure coverage for people diagnosed with cancer who have only weeks or days to gather the financial resources to keep the future option of starting a family of their own a possibility before undergoing sometimes life-changing and life-altering cancer treatments. The bill would also help LGBTQ+ people attempting to start families.
“The PA Fertility Act has the potential to have varied and long-lasting positive effects across the state, ensuring fertility coverage statewide, growing PA’s health care sector, attracting young professionals from outside the state, and keeping young professionals here at home,” Innamorato said, “as opposed to what we are seeing today, where young people are leaving PA in order to acquire fertility treatment coverage already confirmed in all our other northeast neighboring states.”
Innamorato, O’Mara and Malagari introduced H.B. 2142 in December, when they were joined in the Capitol complex by physicians from Penn State Hershey Medical Center and Penn Medicine, as well a local couple that detailed the financial difficulties of Pennsylvania residents attempting to start a family without insurance coverage for fertility treatments.
RESOLVE activist Jessica Audette joined the press conference Tuesday to speak on her experiences.
“As an otherwise healthy 28-year-old I was devastated to learn I would need to undergo fertility treatment to build my family,” Audette said.
“Unfortunately, our insurance did not cover any of our infertility treatments, meaning we would have to pay for everything out of pocket. … No one tells you the physical, mental and financial strain infertility will take on you and your family. Sadly, my story is not unique.”