DENVER – A bill to expand insurance coverage for fertility treatments in Colorado passed out of committee in the state House of Representatives Wednesday.
The Colorado Building Families Act is sponsored by Reps. Leslie Herod (D-Denver) and Kerry Tipper (D-Lakewood). The bill would require health benefit plans regulated through the division of insurance to cover diagnosis, infertility treatments like IVF and fertility preservation services.
“Income should not be the barrier to becoming a parent. Fertility treatments should not be left for those who are wealthy,” said Herod.
Patients like Valeria Pernas agree. The 20-year-old Denver woman was diagnosed with cancer last year and given the option to freeze her eggs.
“Fertility is something that is really impacted by chemotherapy,” she said.
Pernas wanted the option to have a family but the cost to preserve her eggs was $15,000.
She set up a GoFundMe account, applied for grants, and was able to raise the money.
But her friend who was also diagnosed with cancer was not able to raise the money, and was not able to freeze her eggs.
“It was really heartbreaking for her,” Pernas said.
When her friend passed last month, Pernas was inspired to share their stories with lawmakers, and she hopes the bill will become law.
Amanda Massey with the Colorado Association of Health Plans says this change would impact about 1/3 of the Colorado market. Massey says the group will monitor the bill and remain neutral, but, "We want to remind them that any mandated coverage benefit increases premiums. There is always a cost,” Massey said.
According to RESOLVE, an advocacy group, similar laws were passed in 17 other states and premiums increased $1 or less per member, per month.