Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Resolve's Infertility Advocacy Day

Resolve is an organization dedicated to addressing the needs and concerns of people who are faced with infertility. June 25 is Resolve's Advocacy day, and hundreds of people will be descending on Congress to support legislation to help those facing infertility, including the Family Building Act of 2009 (H.R. 697). The Family Building Act amends the Public Health Service Act and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) to require a group health plan that provides coverage for obstetrical services to include coverage for non-experimental treatment of infertility that is deemed appropriate by a participant or beneficiary and the treating physician. The bill would also require coverage for assisted reproductive technology only if certain conditions are met. Additionally, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will be introducing the Family Building Act to the Senate! This bill mirrors the House version of the bill.

What you can do:
  1. Send a letter/email thanking Senator Gillibrand for her initiative.
  2. Contact your Senator to either co-sponsor or support this bill.
  3. HR 697 has been assigned to committees. Contact the House Committee members directly to show your support. The 3 assigned committees are:
  4. If you haven't already, contact your Representative to support HR 697 as well.

9 comments:

Mandy and Russel said...

Great! Can I steal this for my blog?

Me said...

Yes, and if I get a chance, I'll post the draft letter I sent.

Me said...

Senate version of the letter:

Dear Senator:

In honor of Resolve's Infertility Advocacy Day coming up on June 25, we are writing in support of the Family Building Act of 2009 (introduced at HR 697 in the House and due to be introduced in the Senate by Senator Gillibrand in the Senate), which would require a group health plan or a health insurer offering group coverage to provide coverage for infertility services to the same extent obstetrical services are covered. Infertility is a medical condition, and unfortunately one with which my husband and I are quite familiar.

My husband and I are both small business owners, and we have health insurance coverage through our company. In 2007, we discovered that we have a fertility issue that necessitated in vitro fertilization (IVF) in order for us to conceive a child. We attempted several other artificial reproductive technologies first, including Clomid and ovulation induction via injectible medications with intra-uterine insemination. Unfortunately, those techniques failed to help us achieve a pregnancy, and our doctor informed us that we would only conceive through IVF.

Because we lacked insurance coverage for IVF, my husband and I had to pay out of pocket to undergo IVF. Had our insurance covered this procedure, it would have cost our insurer a fraction of our out-of-pocket cost (fewer than $4,000) due to the insurance negotiated provider rates, and it would not have cost us anything out of pocket. My husband and I were lucky – we were able to save up this money and pay for IVF ourselves. We were even luckier that our first IVF was successful, and we now have a 6 month old son – one who will have less money set aside for his care and education because we had to pay for IVF out of pocket.

Now that we have a child, my husband and I are considering a second child to complete our family. Unfortunately, it is likely that we will once again need to undergo IVF to conceive, and the thought of saving and spending another $15,000-$30,000 to have a child is daunting and possibly even prohibitive. We have an actual medical problem that is the root cause of our infertility, and there is a medical intervention (IVF) available to treat our infertility. As such, IVF should be covered by insurance as any other medical intervention for a medical problem. Without such coverage, my husband and I may not be able to conceive a second child – a loss we will feel for the rest of our lives. The right to have a family is fundamental – and the right to treatment for infertility should be fundamental as well.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you, and strongly encourage you to support Senator Gillibrand in the introduction of the bill to the Senate. This is a fundamental issue of reproductive freedom, and insurance companies continue to discriminate against those of us who suffer from infertility. We hope that you will support us and help the millions of people facing the painful struggle with infertility each year.

Me said...

House letter:

Dear Congressman:

In honor of Resolve's Infertility Advocacy Day coming up on June 25, we are writing in support of HR 697, the Family Building Act of 2009, which would require a group health plan or a health insurer offering group coverage to provide coverage for infertility services to the same extent obstetrical services are covered. Infertility is a medical condition, and unfortunately one with which my husband and I are quite familiar.

My husband and I are both small business owners, and we have health insurance coverage through our company. In 2007, we discovered that we have a fertility issue that necessitated in vitro fertilization (IVF) in order for us to conceive a child. We attempted several other artificial reproductive technologies first, including Clomid and ovulation induction via injectible medications with intra-uterine insemination. Unfortunately, those techniques failed to help us achieve a pregnancy, and our doctor informed us that we would only conceive through IVF.

Because we lacked insurance coverage for IVF, my husband and I had to pay out of pocket to undergo IVF. Had our insurance covered this procedure, it would have cost our insurer a fraction of our out-of-pocket cost (fewer than $4,000) due to the insurance negotiated provider rates, and it would not have cost us anything out of pocket. My husband and I were lucky – we were able to save up this money and pay for IVF ourselves. We were even luckier that our first IVF was successful, and we now have a 6 month old son – one who will have less money set aside for his care and education because we had to pay for IVF out of pocket.

Now that we have a child, my husband and I are considering a second child to complete our family. Unfortunately, it is likely that we will once again need to undergo IVF to conceive, and the thought of saving and spending another $15,000-$30,000 to have a child is daunting and possibly even prohibitive. We have an actual medical problem that is the root cause of our infertility, and there is a medical intervention (IVF) available to treat our infertility. As such, IVF should be covered by insurance as any other medical intervention for a medical problem. Without such coverage, my husband and I may not be able to conceive a second child – a loss we will feel for the rest of our lives. The right to have a family is fundamental – and the right to treatment for infertility should be fundamental as well.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with you, and strongly encourage you to support Senator Gillibrand in the introduction of the bill to the Senate. This is a fundamental issue of reproductive freedom, and insurance companies continue to discriminate against those of us who suffer from infertility. We hope that you will support us and help the millions of people facing the painful struggle with infertility each year.

Mandy and Russel said...

Wonderful! I'm going to post it now.

Melissa G said...

Thank you SO much for posting this. My insurance covers absolutely nothing. Not the first $150 consult I had with my OB/GYN who gave us our first rounds of testing. Or the SEVEN THOUSAND dollars in medical bills that resulted from all of those tests. Not to metion any of the ART that we will be doing to conceive our first child via DIUI, partially because we CAN'T AFFORD IVF.

I will most certainly be contacting my Senator regaring this initiative.

Again, thank you for not only sharing your story, but for promoting awareness.

BIG internet hugs for you!

Kari said...

I am stealing it for my blog too!

Sarah and Andy said...

Melissa summed it up perfectly! Thank you! I hope you don't mind if I post it on my site as well?

Me said...

I'm so glad everyone is posting this! Spread the word, and write to your Senators and Congressmen! A quick email really does a lot. They tally the number of emails they get and it DOES affect their vote and attention.