Advocates push for New York State IVF coverage

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Advocates across New York are pushing for coverage of in-vitro fertilization treatments for families throughout the state.

When Risa Levine of Lower Manhattan first started going through infertility treatments, she was horrified to learn that her insurance would only give her a lifetime benefit of $10,000.

"Which in New York covered about 10 minutes of consultations and maybe a diagnostic test," Levine said.

A typical IVF treatment costs about $20,000.

Eight states cover IVF treatment, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, Illinois, Hawaii, Arkansas, Connecticut and New Jersey. New York State covers IVF for only state employees.

"It's bizarre that New York, where people from all over the world come to utilize our clinics and our phenomenal doctors and the great research that's done in this state, we don't cover our own patients," Levine said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last month that he was directing the Department of Financial Services to examine the best approach for incorporating IVF into New York's existing infertility insurance law.

Cuomo said during the announcement March 1: "By lifting barriers to insurance coverage, we will ensure safe and affordable access to in-vitro fertilization and help New Yorkers have better control over their reproductive health and family planning."

Levine, along with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and other advocates, is pushing for the passage of the Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act. The bill passed the New York State Assembly last year but did not pass the Senate.

"There's not a single legislator who has told us they have any objections to the bill, it's just a question of getting it voted on," Levine said.

Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, with Long Island IVF, said the way the law is currently, by not covering IVF, is actually dangerous to women.

"(It) pushes them into receiving the wrong treatments, treatments that will either be ineffective or treatments that will put them at high risk of having multiple pregnancies, which can also create a lot of downstream medical issues," he said.

Advocates of the Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act are hosting a rally in Albany on May 8. Click here for more information on how to get involved in their efforts.

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