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Colorado bill to force insurance companies to cover infertility treatment held up; thousands without coverage

Language of initial law created confusion
IVF bill
Posted at 5:41 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 20:50:49-05

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

But due to some problematic language in that bill, the Farmens and all of 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 issue.

“We were really excited about the new bill and were hopeful that with that either one 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 that it would require in vitro fertilization (IVF). Matt said that one round of treatment costs roughly $25,000.

“We will go into debt for this to try and start our family,” Jessica Farmen said.

Confusion over some language in the initial bill, which passed two years ago, meant that all insurers were exempt from the law and IVF essentially could not be enforced.

“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 sponsors of the initial bill. “We’re going to do everything we can to make this right and get this bill across the finish line,” she said.

Tipper is one of the co-sponsors of a new bill that was just introduced at the legislature. She also went through IVF and is advocating for families facing infertility.

“Unfortunately, it means that 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 have coverage if the bill passes as the new law would only apply to large companies with more than 100 employees who have insurance plans regulated by the state.

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

The Farmens have decided they can’t wait for a new law and will move forward with IVF treatment and take on debt to pay out of pocket if they must.

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

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