JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Thousands of Mississippi women have trouble getting pregnant. Last year, the American Medical Association designated infertility as a disease. Now, Mississippi lawmakers are considering a proposal that would require insurance to cover the associated treatments.
Nurse practitioner Marty Gebhart at Mississippi Reproductive Medicine explains that 1 in 8 couples deal with infertility.
"When you come through these doors, you're not expecting to get a diagnosis like that and then you're really not expecting to be faced with a treatment and then you leave here thinking how am I going to pay for this?," explained Gebhart.
Nothing they do in this clinic is covered by insurance. But it can often be the difference in whether someone's able to start a family.
"Often times patients will put off what they need to have done because they fear how are they going to afford it," added Gebhart. "The problem with that is the longer they postpone their therapy, the more unlikely it is that they're going to have the success they're looking for. Because a lot of what we do is time sensitive."
House Bill 1198 would require insurance companies to cover up to $20,000 of the costs for diagnosing and treating infertility. Representative Missy McGee learned that first hand when she learned she'd have to have IVF.
"It was tough 20 years ago to try to go through the emotional, the physical, and then go through the financial burden," noted McGee. "So, I just want to help other families who struggle with this issue and give them a chance to have a family."
McGee said some have been concerned with the impact on insurance rates but says a legislative report showed it would be minimal because only a small percentage of the population would actually need the treatments.
The bill is now pending debate in the full House.