Aetna Extends Fertility Coverage To LGBTQ+ People In Landmark Settlement

Aetna Extends Fertility Coverage To LGBTQ+ People In Landmark Settlement

In a landmark win for the queer community, Aetna has agreed to provide equal fertility coverage to LGBTQ+ people after reaching a settlement with a group of plaintiffs in a case over medical discrimination. The insurance company will now be required to payout $2 million to members of the lawsuit. They will also be required to update their fertility coverage for LGBTQ+ couples. 

Fertility medical discrimination is often a hidden struggle for LGBTQ+ couples trying to conceive. The winning case, Goidel et al. v. Aetna was filed in September 2021 according to LGBTQ Nation. It was pioneered by Emma Goidel and Ilana Caplan who discovered holes in Aetna’s care coverage when trying to have a second child in 2020. At the time, Aetna was covering Caplan through her Doctorate program in Nursing Practice. 

Caplan and Goidel were hoping to be covered for their use of intrauterine insemination (IUI) until they found that the procedure was only covered for those trying to conceive through heterosexual sex. They then found that receiving coverage for reproductive assistance as a same-sex couple was fraught with many roadblocks. Without the ability to conceive via sexual intercourse, they couple would have to endure a year of fertility treatments, paid for out of pocket, before they were allowed coverage. Goidel referred to this as a “queer tax,” according to reports from LGBTQ Nation. The cost of this queer tax, up to $100,000. 

Goidel and Caplan spent all their savings on rounds of IUI and endured a miscarriage before they successfully got pregnant, all of which were denied coverage by Aetna because she wasn’t straight.The class action lawsuit was brought against the insurance company in 2021 and was settled on just May 3rd after plaintiffs argued discrimination on the basis of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits medical discrimination.

“We celebrate this significant stride toward achieving justice for LGBTQ+ people who have faced obstacle after obstacle trying to access the health care services that they need to build their families,” Alison Tanner, Senior Litigation Counsel for Reproductive Rights and Health at the National Women’s Law Center, told LGBTQ Nation.

Tanner also pointed out that fertility coverage for LGBTQ+ couples is “an industry-wide problem” and she hopes other insurance providers will move to extend their coverage as well, according to Reuters. 

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