California lawmakers have introduced a bill forcing insurance companies to cover surrogacy costs for Californians., including gay and lesbian couples. This would change these procedures that are currently considered optional by insurance providers to mandatory ones, causing them to be covered by insurance companies. This bill also would cover the process of in vitro fertilization under insurance. It also redefines what insurance companies in the state deem as infertility, now broadening the definition to include “A person’s inability to reproduce either as an individual or with their partner without medical intervention.”
By Joel B. Pollak; June 12, 2023
A new bill making its way through the California state legislature would require insurance companies to cover the costs of surrogacy for gay and lesbian couples that wish to have children.
The bill, SB 729, would require health insurers in the state to cover the cost of fertility treatments, which are currently optional, or only available through certain companies’ benefits programs. In addition, as the text of the bill explains, “The bill would revise the definition of infertility, and would remove the exclusion of in vitro fertilization from coverage.”
One provision in the bill, written by State Sen. Caroline Menjivar (D-Burbank), expands the definition of “infertility” to include: “A person’s inability to reproduce either as an individual or with their partner without medical intervention.” It adds that “coverage for the treatment of infertility and fertility services shall be provided without discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.” And it bars policies that exclude the costs of a “surrogate that enables an intended recipient to become a parent.”
Effectively, as the Washington Free Beacon explains, this means that health insurance policies will have to cover the cost of in vitro fertilization and surrogacy for both heterosexual and same-sex couples.
Insurance companies are reported to oppose the bill because of its higher costs. Conservative groups are also said to oppose the bill — though encouraging couples, including gay couples, to have babies could also arguably encourage a culture of child-rearing that is struggling as birth rates continue to drop in the United States.