Fertility Procedures

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

SB 600 spells out that health insurance companies must cover certain fertility procedures for patients with medical diagnoses that indicate treatment such as chemotherapy could damage their fertility. The procedures include egg and sperm freezing, in vitro fertilization and the freezing of embryos. This bill does not apply to the one-third of Californians enrolled in the Medi-Cal program for low-income residents.

WHO SUPPORTS IT?

Democratic state Sen. Anthony Portantino is behind the bill. He argues that the state already has regulations in place that make fertility preservation in those circumstances part of essential health care benefits — but insurers are not following it. Proponents of the measure argue that this is a basic health care right and those diagnosed with a condition like cancer should not have to scramble to pay for the costly procedures out of pocket or forgo their future fertility.

WHO’S OPPOSED?

Health insurers object, noting that existing law does not specify these types of fertility-preservation procedures as essential services all insurers must cover. The state Department of Managed Health Care, which oversees health plans in California, has determined otherwise, but insurers say that determination does not follow current law. Portantino wants his bill to settle the dispute.

WHY IT MATTERS

This bill could open the door for future legislation to require broader coverage of fertility and infertility services.

GOVERNOR’S CALL 

The state is in a legal battle with Kaiser Permanente over coverage of fertility-preservation procedures. The governor signed the bill Oct. 12, 2019.