Governor Andrew Cuomo has updated New York’s insurance mandates, expanding infertility coverage to single women and same-sex couples. The Cut reports that before, eligible candidates had to be between the ages of 21 and 44, and trying to conceive through “regular intercourse” for one year, or six months for parents over 35.
According to The Cut, Cuomo sent a letter to the Superintendent of Financial Services, requiring state insurers to implement this more inclusive coverage policy. He did this by aligning the definition of infertility with that of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “A disease, defined by the failure to achieve a successful pregnancy after 12 months or more of appropriate, timed unprotected intercourse or therapeutic donor insemination.”
New York is one of 15 states requiring insurance coverage for infertility treatment, according to The Cut. With about 70% of workers having access to medical care plans in the private sector nationally, and only 51% using such plans, many people take part in state and federal insurance plans such as Medicaid. While these insurance policies vary based on provider and location, policies like Cuomo’s introduce a standard of uniform protection.
In the announcement of the policy, Cuomo stated the importance of these equal protections.
“In New York, we firmly believe that everyone, no matter who they are, deserves the right to control their own bodies and make their own reproductive health decisions,” the governor said. “All women who wish to have a child are entitled to insurance coverage for fertility treatment regardless of their sexual orientation or marital status, just as all women have the right to reproductive choice and to decide if and when to start a family, and New York will always stand up to protect and preserve those rights.”
Cuomo’s chief counsel Alphonso David said in a statement to The Cut that the new state policy addresses a discriminatory problem that they were already aware of, relating it to the expansion of marriage equality.
“Just like we have a definition of marriage that can’t by its language discriminate against people based on who they are,” he said “you can’t have a definition of infertility that by its language discriminates against people based on who they are or whether or not they’re in a relationship.”
David also told The Cut that the state government will fine or take away the licenses of any insurers that do not comply with the policy.