As reported by The Hartford Courant, July 7, 2005.

Law On Fertility Coverage Called a Good Start

By William Hathaway

Doctors at fertility clinics applauded a new Connecticut law that requires insurance coverage of many fertility treatments, but they also expressed concern about restrictions that could deny coverage for women 40 and older.

Under the bill signed into law last Friday by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, infertile couples who have had insurance for at least a year can get coverage for a variety of procedures, such as induction of ovulation, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization.

"It's a good start because infertility is being treated as a medical condition, not an elective procedure," said Anita Steenson, a Milford lawyer who has spent $100,000 in unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant and who lobbied for the bill.

However, the new law does make several exceptions. For instance, plans can deny coverage to women 40 and older, and for a variety of procedures there are lifetime limits on the number of treatments insurers must cover.

Officials at the Center for Advanced Reproductive Services at the University of Connecticut Health Center said the law would help many people start families but that the limits on coverage for older women were a flaw.

"Nationally, nearly 15 percent of [in vitro fertilization] cycles occur in women 40 years old or older," said Dr. Donald Maier, chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology at the UConn Health Center. "That statistic is also representative of what we see in our practice. We are concerned that this bill does not meet the needs of this patient population as well as it could."

Steenson, 42, said she would not benefit directly from the bill.

"But I know if the bill had been in place when I started this, it would have helped me," she said.

Insurance companies also can require that treatments be performed at clinics that conform to the standards and guidelines developed by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine or the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.

Employers whose religion forbids some forms of fertility treatments can seek an exemption from offering insurance for those procedures.