Colorado bill requiring insurance to cover infertility is on hold

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DENVER — Matt and Jessica Farmen were among thousands of Colorado families waiting until January 2022, when a new law was due to come into effect that would require infertility treatments to be covered by insurance.

But because of problematic language in this bill, the Farmens and all the other families who have been waiting for years are left without the coverage they were promised.

Now lawmakers are proposing a new bill to fix the problem.

“We were really excited about the new bill and hoped that with this one or both of our companies would cover it,” Matt Farmen said.

The couple began trying to start a family shortly after getting married in 2020, but later learned it would require in vitro fertilization (IVF). Matt said a treatment cycle costs around $25,000.

“We’re going to go into debt to try to start our family,” Jessica Farmen said.

Confusion over certain terms of the initial invoice, who passed two years ago, meant that all insurers were exempt from the law and that IVF essentially could not be applied.

“I’m sorry. You know, we got it wrong. I’m devastated, to be honest,” said State Rep. Kerry Tipper (D-Jefferson County), one of the original bill’s sponsors. “We’re going to do everything we can to make things right and get this bill across the finish line,” she said.

Tipper is one of the co-sponsors of a new invoice which has just been introduced in the Legislative Assembly. She has also gone through IVF and advocates for families dealing with infertility.

“Unfortunately, that means people are delaying building their families and, you know, that has significant consequences,” said Dr. Cassandra Roeca, who works with IVF patients at Shady Grove Fertility.

But even still, not all families will be covered if the bill passes, because the new law would only apply to large companies with more than 100 employees that have state-regulated insurance plans.

Tipper said she hopes the new bill will pass, but she will again have to fight the insurance companies and their powerful lobby.

The Farmens have decided they can’t wait for a new law and will go ahead with IVF treatment and go into debt to pay out of pocket if they have to.

But they also recognize that not all families have this luxury.

“This is a medical necessity, although not recognized by insurance companies,” Matt Farmen said. “And it should be covered.”

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