SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Unmarried and same-sex couples will be ensured the same access to insurance coverage for fertility treatments as heterosexual couples under a bill Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown announced signing Tuesday.
The legislation, Assembly Bill 460, clarifies the non-discrimination provision of an existing state law that requires health plans to offer coverage for fertility treatments, except for in vitro fertilization.
Despite the existing law, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, said many same-sex couples have been denied the coverage. In praising Brown’s signature on his bill, Ammiano said reproductive medicine should be for the benefit of everyone.
“To restrict fertility coverage solely to heterosexual married couples violates California’s non-discrimination laws,” he said in a statement. “I wrote this bill to correct that.”
Neither Ammiano’s office nor advocacy groups that supported the bill could say how many same-sex couples might be denied coverage in a given year in California but said it’s a common complaint. Even without in vitro fertilization, fertility treatments are expensive, costing hundreds or thousands of dollars per cycle.
Under state law, insurance companies are required to offer at least some plans that provide coverage for those treatments. Ammiano’s bill makes it clear that everyone who purchases such a plan, either individually or through group insurance, is entitled to that benefit.
Ammiano spokesman Carlos Alcala said the assemblyman carried the bill because he knows people who had difficulty getting coverage.