‘The walls are closing in on Christian employers. They tried to find ways to be affordable and flexible with employee health insurance plans, but these avenues are being shut off’

 WASHINGTON A proposed bill in Congress would significantly increase employers’ health care costs and force employers to subsidize IVF regardless of marital status.

The HOPE with Fertility Act, sponsored by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) would require all health plans regulated by ERISA to provide coverage for in vitro fertilization (IVF). The majority of American employees are covered by ERISA plans.

“Employers should be afraid — very afraid.,” said Katy Talento, executive director of the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries. “The walls are closing in on Christian employers. They sought refuge from burdensome and conscience-violating state and federal mandates in the federal ERISA law, which permits more affordable and flexible employee health insurance plans, but this new legislation would threaten that safe haven.

 “This leaves one place for Christian employers to go for affordable health care without compromising their values — Health Care Sharing Ministries.

 “Let’s start with the costs that this bill would impose. Each cycle of IVF costs tens of thousands of dollars, and most women require multiple cycles. Health care costs are already eating our economy.

 “The bill requires coverage not only for infertile male-female couples, but even for same-sex couples or transgender-identifying employees who are ‘incapable of reproduction to live birth based on medical or reproductive history, age, physical findings, or diagnostic testing.’

 “Further, the bill appears to provide coverage for medical/IVF costs associated with surrogacy, including commercial surrogacy, better known as baby selling. While some Christian employers may not object to the use of IVF by married, male-female couples who only create or implant one embryo at a time, this bill would not allow limitations to just that type of procedure. Instead, it would require coverage for all aspects of the IVF industry, making pro-life employers complicit in the eugenics and embryo destruction characteristic of most IVF procedures.”

The bill requires every employer to submit a report each year for five years to the Secretary of Labor outlining all utilization management tools that apply to IVF, and how they are compliant with the requirement of the bill that they are no more burdensome than those applied to other medical/surgical benefits.

The Secretary of Labor must then report to Congress each year on employers by name that she deems insufficiently compliant, and for those who are compliant, why she has deemed them to be compliant.

“As employers will fear being deemed noncompliant, they will no doubt overcompensate by providing far greater coverage of IVF than they do for more medically necessary treatments for sicker patients with life-threatening conditions, such as cancer, rare pediatric genetic disorders, and other conditions,” Talento said.

 “The crushing costs of this overcompensation for expensive IVF procedures will be shifted to employees who are the sickest — increasing their deductibles and coinsurance for life-saving treatments.”

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries is a 501(c)(6) trade organization representing the common interests of Health Care Sharing Ministry organizations which are facilitating the sharing of health care needs (financial, emotional, and spiritual) by individuals and families, and their participants. The Alliance engages with federal and state regulators, members of the media, and the Christian community to provide accurate and timely information on health care sharing.

To learn more about the Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, visit www.ahcsm.org or follow the ministry on Facebook or Twitter.


 To interview a representative from The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Beth Bogucki, 610.584.1096, ext. 105.


 To interview a representative from The Alliance of Health Care Sharing Ministries, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Beth Bogucki, 610.584.1096, ext. 105.