Fertility Benefits at Top U.S. Medical Schools

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2022 Sep;31(9):1369-1373. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2021.0486. Epub 2022 Jan 17.

Abstract

Background: Female physicians have a higher prevalence of infertility compared with the general population. Physician well-being can be significantly impacted by the physical and emotional challenges associated with this, including the high cost of fertility treatments, which are often not covered by health insurance. There are limited data on the current state of fertility coverage available for physicians. This study examines fertility insurance benefits offered for faculty at top U.S. medical schools. Methods: Between March and April 2021, we reviewed fertility benefits at medical schools ranked in the top 14 for research as identified by the US News & World Report 2021. The summary plan descriptions of benefits were collected from each institution's human resources (HR) website and direct phone call to HR representatives. We examined descriptions of coverage for fertility services including evaluation, treatments, medications, maximum lifetime coverage, and whether a formal diagnosis of infertility was required for benefit eligibility. Results: Fourteen institutions offer benefits for fertility evaluation and 13 offer benefits for treatment. Of the 13 institutions that offer treatment coverage, 11 cover in vitro fertilization, with 6 having limits on the number of cycles. Twelve offer medication coverage. Ten institutions specified maximum lifetime coverage for treatments and medications, ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. Only 1 school provided coverage for elective fertility preservation, and none covered surrogacy expenses. Half of the schools are in states where fertility benefits are mandated. Conclusion: There is wide variation in fertility benefits offered at top medical schools across the country. Many schools offered coverage for fertility evaluation and treatments; however, majority had restrictions and limitations to the benefits, suggesting that there is still inadequate coverage provided. This study's selected sample also does not reflect other medical schools across the country, which may not be as well-resourced in their provision of fertility benefits.

Keywords: infertility benefits; medical schools; physicians.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Humans
  • Infertility* / therapy
  • Insurance, Health
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted
  • Schools, Medical*
  • United States