SACRAMENTO — When Alice Crisci was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer five years ago, she paid to have her eggs harvested as part of a costly procedure before undergoing cancer treatment.
Now, a bill in the state Legislature would make California the first state in the nation to require insurers to cover fertility treatments for patients battling cancer and other serious diseases that often require treatments that can jeopardize their ability to have children.
A hearing on the bill was underway Tuesday before the Assembly Health Committee, which was expected to vote later in the day.
The legislation by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, would require insurance providers to cover the fertility services. Treatments covered under AB912 would include extracting eggs and freezing sperm.
“Even though cancer is scary, the idea of not getting to be a biological mother is even scarier,” Crisci, who is now pregnant, said at a news conference Tuesday.
Some insurance plans include coverage for fertility treatment. But Crisci and other supporters of AB912 say cancer patients may be deemed ineligible by their insurers because they are not infertile before receiving radiation or other treatments, which is when eggs or sperm would need to be collected.
The California Association of Health Plans is among those opposing the bill. In a letter to the Assembly Health Committee, the association wrote that the requirement would lead to higher insurance premiums and additional state costs.