Imagine that you are diagnosed with cancer at 24. On top of processing the enormity of your diagnosis at such a young age, you’re shuttled from one appointment to the next, coordinating your treatment plan in the quickest timeframe possible. Today, treatment discussions are more frequently including information regarding fertility preservation measures which gives hope to many patients about to start their arduous cancer treatment.
Unfortunately, this hope can be short lived once patients learn that fertility preservation services are not typically covered by insurance and need to be paid out-of-pocket. Out-of-pocket, in this case, can mean a few hundred dollars for sperm banking for male cancer patients or thousands of dollars for female patients. Fortunately, there is help on the horizon.
The Family Act of 2013 has been introduced into both the U.S. Senate and U.S.House of Representatives (S 881/HR 1851) and will provide critical financial support for young people with cancer, autoimmune disorders, and other conditions whose treatment may save their lives yet damage their ability to have children in the future. Modeled on the existing Adoption Tax Credit (ATC), The Family Act will create a tax credit for eligible taxpayers to cover 50% of the cost of IVF and fertility preservation up to the maximum amount of the credit set by the ATC ($12,970 this calendar year).
Many professional groups (for example: American Society for Clinical Oncology, Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses) support and recommend fertility preservation discussions with patients prior to treatment but the cost is frequently not covered by health insurance. This financial impact often inhibits young people from undergoing such preventative measures. Without financial assistance for these services, patients may elect to forgo fertility preservation prior to treatment, which may result in inflated costs for the survivor and the health care system years later when trying to build a family.
The Oncofertility Consortium supports The Family Act of 2013 as it will improve the lives of patients dealing with cancer and other serious, life-threatening diseases. We fully understand the need to provide financial support for fertility preservation for young patients prior to damaging treatments.
You can read a copy of the bill here: The Family Act of 2013 – bill
Send letters of support to your congressmen here: Letters to Senate and House of Representatives
Until The Family Act of 2013 becomes a law (must be approved by both chambers by December 2014 to do so), consider utilizing our billing templates to help navigate insurance coverage in this patient population: Oncofertility Consortium billing templates