Aetna Sued Over Fertility Treatment Access for LGBTQ Subscribers

On Monday, a case was filed in the Southern District Court of New York. The case was filed as a class action by lead plaintiff Emma Goidel against Aetna Inc. The case is regarding the access of LGBTQ persons to fertility treatments.

Goidel and her spouse are enrolled in an Aetna Student Health Plan policy for Columbia University, the complaint said. The health plan provides access to fertility treatments as a covered benefit without any out of pocket costs to individuals who represent that they have not gotten pregnant after 12 months of unprotected sex.

However, according to the plaintiffs, the plan requires that couples who have not been able to become pregnant due to their sexual orientation and gender of their partner pay for 12 cycles of fertility treatment out of pocket prior to Aetna covering this as a benefit.

The plaintiff argues that this requirement acts as a tax upon these couples that is discriminatory and can prevent the insureds from having families due to the prohibitive costs. As to the class, the plaintiff notes that this requirement is standard in all student health plans offered by Aetna and represents a very large potential class of LGBTQ persons who have been affected by this extra requirement.

The plaintiffs are suing for discrimination in health care on the basis of sex under federal and NY State statutes. The plaintiffs are being represented by Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel.