New bill aims to lessen financial burden of fertility treatment
More than a million married women in the United States struggle with getting pregnant, but seeking fertility treatment can cost thousands of dollars.
A new state bill (VIEW) would require insurance to cover the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, lessening the financial burden these couples face.
All Josh and Aubrey Atkinson wanted was to be parents.
"While you're in the middle of it, it just feels like your drowning and trying to tread water to get through,” Aubrey said.
The journey, as they call it, wasn't easy.
"It's such an emotional thing to go through to also carry the financial burden," said Aubrey. "It's how do you tackle both at the same time?"
They received treatment from the Fertility Center of Charleston.
"Conservative treatments can cost somewhere in the range of $2,500. For aggressive treatments, it can be more in the range of $10,000-$12,000 dollars or up depending on how aggressive couples want to be,” Dr. Stephanie Singleton, physician and owner of the center, said.
The proposed state bill could help take away some of the financial burden.
"It will probably allow more patients to be able to seek fertility assistance in the grand scheme of things. Now, there are a fair number of patients that have to pay cash out of pocket," Singleton said.
The Atkinsons were one of them.
"It would have been incredible had we had that opportunity when we were going through it, because our insurance covered zero," Aubrey said.
It's still in the early stages, but if passed, the bill would require insurance companies to cover the diagnosis and treatment of infertility.
"I think in this day and age with the fight for woman's reproductive rights, this certainly should be included as an insurance option for people who are specifically seeking to be parents,” Josh said.
They were lucky enough to have the means, but…
"There are many couples that fight down that road that are prepared financially, but there are others that can't proceed forward because of the affordability of it. I think that's really unfortunate," Josh said.
Looking back over the last year, and pregnant now with their third child, their hope now is that other couples can experience the same joy.
Dr. Singleton says they do offer a counselor to help couples financially at the Fertility Center of Charleston.