Minnesota IVF coverage mandate likely on hold for now

A bill requiring Minnesota health insurance to include infertility treatment — including IVF — is looking like it’ll need to wait for another round.

But supporters aren’t giving up.

Their bill isn’t included in the big health bills in either the House or the Senate, so the message seems to be "wait until next year."

But nothing’s final until the last gavel strike.

Jamie Heard struggled to get pregnant before her employer’s insurance started covering IVF. It still took years, but she finally had a son in 2022.

She and her husband decided to try again earlier this year, but they live in Alabama.

"Days later, news broke that the Alabama Supreme Court would classify embryos as children," Heard said. "Our clinic will pause IVF treatments due to the legal risk. It was terrifying and surreal."

In Minnesota, infertility coverage also depends on employers. Miraya and Andy Gran didn’t have it, so they needed a bake sale and a GoFundMe to raise $22,000 to have Isla in 2021.

"We have two embryos remaining," said Miraya Gran. "We still hope to give Isla a sibling. But we cannot afford it without insurance coverage."

The Gran family made it a mission to get that coverage mandated into law this year.

Insurance companies have opposed similar bills in other states and say it would drive up costs for everyone.

The Minnesota Department of Commerce predicted a $1.30 per month increase in the average premium as a result of the mandate.

That adds up to millions in expenses to the state, which is why the bill hasn’t gained traction and supporters have started talking about partial coverage.

"If we can cover some people, if the legislature can find a way to cover some people, we would be thrilled," said Julie Berman, a former board member of the National Infertility Association.

The Senate health committee meets again Thursday night, so it’s still possible infertility treatment could be added, but fair to say it’s a longshot right now.