Aetna Class Action Alleges Fertility Treatment Insurance Discriminates Against Gay Women

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Aetna Homosexual Fertility Treatment Coverage Class Action Overview:

  • Who: A 40-year-old gay woman is suing Aetna, saying its policy for fertility treatment coverage discrimates against homosexual women.
  • Why: The plaintiff says Aetna requires women to either have unprotected sex for 12 months or do expensive alternative fertility treatments for 12 months before it will offer coverage. She says this is unfair because gay women are forced to pay for the alternative treatment. 
  • Where: The case has been filed in a Connecticut federal court.

Aetna illegally discriminates against homosexual women who want to have babies by forcing them pay for expensive fertility treatments before it will pay for their infertility services—in contrast to its policy for heterosexual women—a new class action lawsuit alleges.

Plaintiff Tara Kulwicki filed the class action lawsuit against Aetna, Inc. and Aetna Life Insurance Company Feb. 9 in a Connecticut federal court, alleging violations of the Affordable Care Act.

Kulwicki is a 40-year-old homosexual woman who wants to have a child. She sought out coverage for her fertility treatment from her insurer, Aetna. Under the company’s medical plan, it will provide full coverage for fertility treatment for those it defines as “infertile.” 

Under the policy, a person is “infertile” if they are under the age of 35 and have either done 12 months of timed, “unprotected coitus” or 12 cycles of Intrauterine insemination (IUI). As Kulwicki does not have sex with men, she is forced into the second option if she wants to get future treatments covered by insurance.

“Defendant provides full health benefits for infertility treatment services to females who represent to Defendant that they have engaged in unprotected coitus for the requisite number of months without a successful pregnancy,” the lawsuit explains. “However, for Plaintiff and other non-heterosexuals, the option of ‘unprotected coitus’ is unavailable. Consequently, Plaintiff and other non-heterosexual individuals assigned female sex at birth are discriminatorily forced to pay out-of-pocket for the cost of the requisite number of IUI cycles before they can obtain benefits for infertility treatment services.” 

Non-Heterosexual Women Must Pay For IUI Treatments While Heterosexual Women Do Not, Plaintiff Allows

Kulwicki alleges that heterosexual women obtain infertility treatment without paying out-of-pocket for IUI treatments under the plan, while non-heterosexual women must first pay for six or more IUI treatments before becoming eligible.

“In this regard, Defendant’s Medical Plan is facially discriminatory against non-heterosexual individuals assigned female sex at birth,” the lawsuit states.

Kulwicki is suing on behalf of herself and all other people in the United States who found themselves in a similar situation with Aetna while seeking fertility treatment.

She is seeking certification of the class action, declaratory relief stopping Aetna from continuing the alleged practices, costs, damages, fees and a jury trial.

The lawsuit comes after a similar class action lodged last year in New York. In it, the plaintiff says Aetna Inc. discriminates against LGBTQ customers by offering health plans that fail to provide equal access to fertility treatment.

What do you think of the allegations in this case? Let us know in the comments! 

The plaintiff is represented by Joseph P. Guglielmo and Carey Alexander of Scott + Scott Attorneys at Law.

The Aetna Fertility Treatment Class Action Lawsuit is Tara Kulwicki v. Aetna, Inc. et al., Case No. 3:22-cv-00229-RNC, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

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