Health insurer Aetna Inc has been sued for allegedly discriminating against beneficiaries who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gay by forcing them to pay more out of pocket for fertility treatments.
In a class action proposal filed in Manhattan federal court on Monday, plaintiff Emma Goidel said she and her spouse were forced to spend nearly $ 45,000 on fertility treatments because of Aetna’s policy. , which required same-sex couples to pay for out-of-pocket fertility treatment before becoming eligible for coverage.
A spokesperson for Aetna, which was acquired by CVS Health Corp in 2018, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Goidel is covered through her spouse by Aetna’s Columbia University Student Health Insurance Plan, which offers extensive coverage for intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in-fertilization treatments. vitro (IVF), according to the complaint.
However, while couples who may try to get pregnant through heterosexual intercourse may receive coverage simply by stating that they have tried for six or 12 months, depending on age, couples who cannot conceive. through sex because of their sexual orientation or gender identity must first pay out of pocket for six or 12 months of IUI, according to the complaint.
Goidel alleges that as of last year, she and her spouse paid for four unsuccessful IUI cycles and one unsuccessful IVF cycle, before becoming pregnant during a fifth IUI cycle, which Aetna refused to cover. .
She said she chose IUI despite previous failures, in part because of the higher cost of IVF.
“Ms. Goidel endured great emotional distress in having to choose treatment based on cost, rather than her personal and medical situation in consultation with her doctor,” she said.
“Aetna’s discriminatory policy is an illegal tax on LGBTQ people that denies the equal rights of LGBTQ people to have children,” Goidel said. “At best, these people incur significant costs because of Aetna’s political language. At worst, these exorbitant costs are prohibitive and completely prevent those who cannot afford them – disproportionately LGBTQ people of color – from getting pregnant and starting a family. “
The lawsuit cited a New York Department of Financial Services report in February explicitly stating that this policy resembles state law violated by Aetna.
Goidel files claims under the anti-discrimination provisions of the Affordable Care Act and New York City and State human rights laws, seeking to represent a class of people covered by the plans health center for Aetna students in New York.
The case is Goidel v. Aetna Inc, US District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 21-cv-07619.
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