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Same-sex couples allowed fertility coverage in California

California Gov. Jerry Brown has recently signed a bill into law ensuring that same-sex and unmarried couples will receive the same access to insurance coverage for fertility. The bill interprets a state law already in existence requiring health plans to cover fertility treatments with the exception of in vitro fertilization. Although the existing law contained non-discriminatory language, same-sex partners were often denied coverage. State legislators have praised the bill and said that reproductive medicine should be of benefit to everyone.

Fertility treatments are expensive, even if they do not include in-vitro fertilization. Each cycle can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, and same-sex couples have lodged several complaints as far as denial of coverage is concerned. State law mandates that insurance companies provide some form of plan that offers coverage for infertility treatments. The new law makes it clear that everyone with insurance, whether individual or through a group plan, is entitled to that coverage.

Same-sex couples face a unique complication when it comes to insurance coverage for fertility treatments. Insurance policies typically require a couple to attempt to conceive naturally for 12 months before coverage kicks in. This requirement often forces same-sex couples to lay out thousands of dollars of their own funds before coverage applies.

Under this law, same-sex couples now enjoy the same rights and obligations as heterosexual couples do. Those who believe they are being discriminated against for insurance or any other reason may benefit from speaking with an attorney who has experience in family law matters. The attorney may be able to review the situation and suggest ways that any resulting harm can be redressed.

Source: San Jose Mercury News, "Fertility coverage protected for same-sex couples in California", Tom Verdin, October 09, 2013

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