Should Health Insurance Premiums be Used to Pay for Infertility Treatments?


            Increasingly, at the behest of small numbers of affluent interest groups, state legislatures are requiring health insurance plans to pay for infertility treatments.   


Initially, it is sad that a society that terminates so many pregnancies and has so much difficulty placing foster children would pay so much to artificially aid conception through means that are the stuff of science fiction, including the creation of many frozen human embryos, and which, therefore, violate the moral and religious tenets of many insurance rate payers who are now required to fund it.  


Beyond that, compulsory coverage of infertility treatments is another example of large, unacknowledged upper middle class subsidies.  As only one woman’s infertility treatments can cost over $100,000, the cost of providing infertility and obstetric coverage to one woman can exceed the cost of providing basic health care to dozens of low income families. 


Worse yet, as infertility is most often self-induced, insurance payers are now required to pay for the consequences of others’ choices.  According to PBS, seventy five percent of infertile women are infertile because of scarring from sexually transmitted diseases or abortions.  Most of the remainder of those who seek infertility treatments have delayed conception until long after their prime child-bearing years. 


Basic health insurance is beyond the means of 44 million Americans.  Rather than requiring undemocratic payments for such services, like infertility treatment, that will largely benefit a privileged and vocal minority, wouldn’t it be fairer for more basic insurance to be provided more inexpensively and, therefore, more broadly?  Then maybe the guy hosing down Infinitis at the car wash could get a hearing aid for his kid.


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