Not all states are equal when it comes to access to fertility treatment and support. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, recently published a scorecard, which gives each state a grade based on how fertility friendly they are. The grade for each state is based on insurance coverage for fertility treatments, the number of fertility specialists, the number of women with infertility, and the number of RESOLVE support groups in that state. The states that ranked the highest were Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. The lowest ranking states were Alaska, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.
The scorecard points out the large disparity that exists across the country when it comes to fertility care. For instance, only eight states provide mandated insurance coverage for fertility treatment. In addition, some states have very few or no reproductive endocrinologists practicing there. Women in those states often have to drive hours to find the nearest fertility specialist.
My own state of California got a B grade. We have one of the highest number of fertility specialists per state, which makes it fairly easy for most patients to find a doctor. We don’t, however, have great insurance coverage for patients. The state laws only require insurers to offer coverage, but most employers don’t choose the more expensive plans with fertility benefits for their employees. And, most insurance plans do not cover IVF. So, we definitely have room for improvement.
The goal of the fertility scorecard is to get people talking. It will hopefully promote more conversation among patients, lawmakers, insurance companies, and legislators regarding access to fertility care. Barbara Collura, president and CEO of RESOLVE, states “We hope to motivate individuals to take action to improve their state’s fertility friendliness, and to understand that they can be part of a larger movement that can impact change in their state.”
To learn more about how to get involved with the fertility community in your state and take action to promote better fertility care, visit RESOLVE’s website. Even a simple letter or email to your state legislator goes a long way to promote change.