This is the first in a series of posts about new laws for 2014 affecting healthcare.
AB 460: Non-Discrimination for Homosexuals and Lesbians
This law requires coverage under the Knox-Keene Health Care Service Plan Act and a under a policy of health insurance that provides for coverage for the treatment of infertility. If such coverage is offered and purchased, it must be provided without discrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, domestic partner status, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation.
AB 460 extended the idea of “non-discrimination” in this context to homosexuals and lesbians regarding fertility. If a health insurance plan is purchased that contains coverage for infertility, then the plan must not discriminate. This statute is meant to help all people access to treatment of infertility.
Insurance plans are not required to carry such coverage. There will be a violation of the statute only if the plan does offer such coverage and they attempt discrimination in the utilization of the coverage.
The law makes homosexuals and lesbians eligible for insurance coverage for “treatment of infertility, except in vitro fertilization, under those terms and conditions as may be agreed upon between the group subscriber or the group policyholder and the plan or the insurer.”
An interesting issue arises when the definition of infertility is considered. Under the new law, homosexuals and lesbians will be classified as “infertile” if they are unable “to conceive a pregnancy or to carry a pregnancy to a live birth after a year or more of regular sexual relations without contraception.” Since most sexual relations in a homosexual and lesbian relationship do not result in pregnancy, the law effectively defines all homosexuals and lesbians as “infertile.” Surely this is an unintended result and new legislation will need to be considered in the near future.