SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Infertility is not only a serious mental battle but also a financial one. Utah is not one of the 17 states that mandates insurance coverage leaving many families financially and emotionally devastated.
“I tried to like tell myself it would be okay if we didn’t become parents,” Sunny Hafen said.
The Hafens went on to spend $85,000 on fertility treatments over a grueling seven-year infertility battle. They now have two children, one adopted and one through surrogacy.
Brooklin Walker has spent over $60,000 over a painful six-year attempt to fulfill her dream of being a mother.
“We ended up refinancing our house to take money out because we couldn’t afford to pay for it,” she said.
Despite the fact that she has an underlying medical condition called adenomyosis, Brooklin was shocked to learn her insurance at the time did not cover it.
“I would like to know why,” she said. “It’s just as big as and bigger than a lot of other medical diagnosis.”
Allie Coutts also faced a medical condition that impacted her fertility and had to pay thousands and thousands of dollars out of pocket.
“I couldn’t predict I was going to have endometriosis, and the damage it did to my internal organs,” Coutts said.
Even though Utah has a higher rate of infertility, the state currently does not require private insurers to provide any coverage, but Sen. Luz Escamilla is looking to change this after her own personal battle.
“The pain of going through all of that medical process and then the realization that I may not be able to afford what that fertility treatment would look like because my insurance didn’t cover that, was certainly eye-opening,” Escamilla said.
Five years ago, she introduced a bill that covers up to $4,000 for infertility treatments for state employees only. It’s just a start, she said.
“The ultimate outcome is that private insurance now covers them the same way we do,” said Escamilla.
Utah Insurance Commissioner Jon Pike explains that with any desired coverage there is a cost.
“Anything that increases premiums let’s say even a percent, that all adds up,” Pike said. “We have to figure out what that is and if we are going to distribute that cost among the ratepayers, those insured, or all citizens in the state of Utah.”
For Escamilla, she plans to make her bill permanent next session with hopes of extending its coverage beyond public workers.
“As the family-friendly state that we are, and we find it to be an important piece of our society and our community, we should be also supporting families trying to grow their families,” she said. “And the way we do it is by making sure their insurance cover it.”