Michigan's Infertility Coverage May Not Be Measuring Up, According To National Scorecard

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A new online map grades every state on the availability of infertility treatments. This State Fertility Scorecard was created by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and grades states based on four criteria: The number of RESOLVE peer support groups, the number of physicians specializing in infertility operating in accredited clinics, the number of women who have had difficulty getting pregnant or carrying to full term, and insurance mandates for infertility treatment coverage. 

“The Fertility Scorecard has become an important tool to help us identify state-by-state disparities in access and support and to bring attention to what desperately needs to be done in terms of improving access to infertility treatments and medical care,” Barbara Collura, President/CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, said in a press release, according to a Romper.

So, how did Michigan perform? The state received a 'D.' 

According to the RESOLVE database, there are four support groups and 27 fertility specialists in the whole state. There are also 209,127 women in Michigan who have experienced pregnancy difficulties, and state mandates do not require insurance plans to cover fertility treatment. 

Industry data shows that about 44% of women struggling with infertility have sought medical treatment. Of these women, about 65% give birth on average. Access to adequate insurance coverage is often the determinant of whether someone seeks medical intervention. Romper reports that prior to the passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, infertility was classified as a preexisting condition. Collura told Romper that this could be under threat with the proposed changes to national healthcare. 

"If they are to change [the pre-existing condition protection], I’m fearful that people with infertility will again be denied coverage," she said. 

Participation in medical plans also varies because of employment status. While70% of private sector workers have coverage available to them, only 51% participate in these insurance plans. Other sources of medical insurance include government-funded insurance such as Medicaid, which may change depending on the fate of the American Health Care Act.

Legislation has a significant role in how fertility coverage will play out in the future, as state mandates often dictate an individual's care. While most people with insurance can easily walk into an urgent care clinic for fracture care, a service offered by 80% of these facilities, it may not be that simple for those wanting to access IVF treatment. The RESOLVE map shows a blue dot over any state that is considering legislation to either increase or decrease fertility treatment coverage. 

"We’ve seen sort of a disturbing increase in a lot of state legislation that would really impact people’s access [to care]," Collura said in a statement to Romper. "You’re not going to see so much with the grade because we haven’t actually seen huge differences in the criteria we use for the grade, but we have definitely seen more negative state legislation."

According to the RESOLVE map, Illinois, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Jersey are the best states for someone seeking fertility services, all receiving A's. Mississippi, Wyoming, and Alaska all received F's, making them the worst states for anyone struggling with infertility. Collura told Romper that while letter grades have not changed during the four years that the organization has been scoring the states, there has been more legislation introduced regarding the issue. 

"I have seen it become worse and not better in terms of the fertility friendliness overall. And really that’s the most disturbing trend for me."

For full story, pick up a copy of the MONTH XX issue of The Allegan County News/The Union Enterprise/The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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