The Canadian province is making a dramatic cutback in one of its most openhanded fertility treatment public funding plans.
Since the creation of the generous public funding program in Quebec, Canada for fertility treatments was first created four years ago, its costs have skyrocketed, causing the province to slash back the insurance coverage that it had been providing for in vitro fertilization.
Gaétan Barette, the Health Minister of Quebec recently tabled a bill ending in vitro medicare coverage.
The insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization had, for the last four years, been a free treatment that had been essentially unlimited within the province. Since 2010 there had been what Barette referred to as an “open bar” program. That said, he has not hidden his intention to scale back the program at any point, though the degree of the cutbacks were unknown until his recent announcement.
The insurance coverage cutbacks to the fertility treatments program has still drawn harsh criticisms.
The association representing fertility doctors in Canada left a scathing comment about the decision to end the health insurance coverage for in vitro fertilization, calling the move a “huge step backward” in Quebec. Previously, the province had been leading the way in the treatment of infertility as a form of medical issue.
According to the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society president, Neal Mahutte, “Quebec was really seen as one of the leaders in North America in terms of recognizing infertility as a medical condition and wanting to offer coverage for that condition.” He added that “Quebec really went from being the leader in North America in terms of having the most comprehensive coverage to being really at the back of the line.”
Should Barette’s bill pass, and it is anticipated that it will – then the only fertility insurance coverage that will still exist for residents of the province will be for artificial insemination. Quebec will also start to pay for various forms of services for fertility preservation for women, such as the freezing of eggs, when they will be undergoing cancer treatments. In vitro tax rebates will be offered based on family income for one cycle of the treatments for women younger than 37 years old, and for two cycles for women who are between 37 and 42 years old, as long as neither potential parent had already had children.