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Health insurer agrees to settlement over LGBTQ+ fertility coverage

A health insurance company with a large presence in Arizona has agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against LGBTQ+ customers seeking fertility treatment.

Under the deal, Aetna will make coverage of artificial insemination standard for all customers across the U.S., and work to ensure that patients have equal access to more expensive in-vitro fertilization procedures.

That’s according to the National Women’s Law Center, which represented the plaintiffs in the case.

Aetna covers nearly 19 million people with commercial coverage, including employer-sponsored health insurance.

A federal judge must still approve the deal.

The insurer will set aside a $2 million fund to reimburse people who had coverage from some of its commercial insurance plans in New York and were denied reimbursement for artificial insemination, a procedure in which sperm is placed directly in a woman’s uterus.

A CVS Health spokesman said the company was pleased to resolve the case and “committed to providing quality care to all individuals regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Fertility treatment coverage has grown more common in recent years, especially among employers eager to recruit and retain workers.

The benefits consultant Mercer says 45% of employers with 500 or more workers offered IVF coverage last year. That’s up from 36% in 2021. Many place limits on the number of treatment cycles or set a lifetime maximum for the benefit.

Many insurers also cover artificial insemination as a standard benefit for all policyholders, according to Sean Tipton of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.