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IVF Tax Credit Legislation Introduced in U.S. Senate

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a blog by David Kreiner, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., East Coast Fertility, May 16, 2011

On May 12, 2011, Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced a bill in the Senate to provide eligible taxpayers a medically-based Federal tax credit of 50 percent of qualified infertility treatment expenses incurred during the taxable year.

Coming less than two weeks after National Infertility Awareness Week 2011 ended, this bill — known as The Family Act of 2011, S965 — would apply to out-of-pocket expenses related to in vitro fertilization, as well as treatments to preserve fertility in advance of medical procedures that may impact fertility (such as in certain cancers).

The lifetime cap on the credit would be $13,360.00. Some patients may exhaust this credit in a single year, but for those who do not, the remaining available credit carries over each year up to a maximum of five years from the time the credit was first used. So, in order to take advantage of the full available credit, a patient would have to expend $26,700 in out-of-pocket applicable medical expenses during up to a five-year period. Note that there are income eligibility requirements associated with this tax credit. The tax credit is modeled after an existing tax credit available to taxpayers who incur adoption expenses.

Senator Gillibrand is to be applauded for leading the way to rectify the current state of excluding infertility care as a covered service. Seemingly motivated by their bottom line, the corporate “for mega profit” insurance companies currently have, and often exercise, the power to decline infertility coverage despite their insured patients’ health needs. These insurance companies are immune to cries for help from patients with medical problems preventing them from building their families.

Over the years the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and various fertility advocacy groups have been working tirelessly, but largely unsuccessfully, to get insurance companies to provide coverage for those handicapped by their inability to independently build their own families.

It is only with intervention by the government that patients in need will get the financial support they have been denied. Therefore, the latest attempted legislation by Sen. Gillibrand is to be commended and endorsed by all who believe in fair distribution of health care and the basic right of Americans to procreate and create their families. Her prior effort to help those suffering from infertility, The Family Building Act of 2009, did not gain enough support to become law. Let’s not let that happen again.

I urge everyone interested in seeing the proposed Family Act of 2011, S965, bill become law to contact their two senators, as well as their representatives in the House, and make a personalized plea in support of this important and ground-breaking legislation.

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