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Lawmakers Are Urging OPM to Beef up Feds’ Fertility Benefits
Democrats in both chambers of Congress bemoaned the abridged—and often expensive—coverage of treatments such as in vitro fertilization in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.
A group of 24 Democratic lawmakers in both the House and Senate on Friday urged the Biden administration to improve the health insurance coverage federal employees receive for fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization.
Federal employees receive their employer-sponsored health care through the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, allowing them to choose from a variety of national and regional plans. But the program only requires insurance carriers to cover the cost of diagnosis and treatment of infertility, leaving many gaps for federal workers seeking to access assisted reproductive technology to get pregnant.
Last week, a group of congressional Democrats led by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., sent Office of Personnel Management Director Kiran Ahuja a letter urging her to expand fertility treatment coverage through FEHBP as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to boost employee recruitment and retention. They noted that it is also an important tool to improving diversity in federal agencies, as LGBTQ+ couples also utilize fertility treatments in order to start a family.
“A survey commissioned by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association found that one in every eight couples face challenges while conceiving, and that does not even include the many LGBTQ+ couples who may wish to utilize ART to start and grow families,” they wrote. “The survey findings indicate that employees without infertility treatment coverage often express dissatisfaction with such employer-sponsored coverage. Moreover, in certain cases, this deficient health insurance coverage is a causal factor in individuals seeking new employment from organizations that do provide family-friendly coverage of infertility services, such as comprehensive access to ART.”