03 March 2016

An Unredeemable Indemnity

In 2014, Utah legislators had had enough. Infertility needed some level of coverage in our state, and they set out to give the couples desperate to have children through infertility treatments some level of aid.

Thus, HB347 was born (this is a very short version--there was a movement by the local infertility community to mandate insurance companies offer infertility coverage, and 347 is what they got). Now, HB347 does not mandate coverage. It does not force any helpless companies to cover, say, an IVF cycle. That's just a huge financial burden, and no one wants to pay that much money. No, 347 takes an existing adoption indemnity and offers the required $4000 to individuals who have undergone infertility treatments. Okay, that's awesome. One third of my IVF cycle reimbursed to me by my insurance company? I love it.

Alas, HB347, she is a fickle thing.

The text reads:
45          (ii) An insurer may comply with the provisions of this section by providing the $4,000
46      adoption indemnity benefit to an enrollee to be used for the purpose of the enrollee obtaining
47     infertility treatments rather than seeking reimbursement for an adoption in accordance with
48      terms designated by the insurer.
Oh that phrase. "...in accordance with terms designated by the insurer." In other words, the insurer (the insurance company) can choose how and whether to reimburse the couple requesting the indemnity.

Guess how many companies choose to hand out $4000 to couples? Mine didn't (selecthealth, if you're curious). Here's what they told me, word for word, via their messaging system:
Effective May 13, 2014, HB347 allows, at the option of the issuer, the use of the adoption indemnity benefit for infertility treatment. The bill is not a benefit mandate and does not require any Utah insurance carriers to make changes to current coverage. Because we are not required to add coverage for infertility treatment, we are not making any changes to our covered benefits.
Well, HB347, thanks for all that hope you gave us. Rep. Christensen stated back in 2014 that the bill would be a "little nudge." But little nudges do not help when health, happiness, and thousands of dollars are on the line.

Utah's 2016 legislative session ends next week. That means after March 10th, we can start pestering legislators for a real bill with real coverage for real couples who really need help building their families.

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