News & Blog

Why don’t federal health plans cover more infertility treatments?

Published by Federal Times. Read the full article.

After losing a child, federal employees pay out of pocket for in vitro test to check for genetic disorder

WASHINGTON — Five years ago, Hilary Ferrell learned that she and her husband were carriers for a rare, fatal genetic condition. This was just after they had lost their daughter, who had spent two months in the neonatal intensive care unit before she died.

Ferrell and her husband are both federal employees. She’s been working at the IRS for over a decade and met him in the building. After their daughter’s death, the couple wanted to have another child, but they knew that natural conception could endanger the baby if it inherited the genetic trait.

To ensure their next child would be unaffected, they underwent genetic testing with in vitro fertilization, a common artificial reproductive procedure. Ferrell was able to get the testing covered as a medical benefit, and her insurance plan even paid all of her daughter’s NICU stay. But when it came to IVF, she was on her own.

“Especially for people with genetic testing issues, there are a lot of moral and ethical things that people just don’t want to touch,” Ferrell said in an interview with Federal Times. “They don’t want to touch that with a ten-foot pole.”

Continue reading here.