Unmet financial burden of infertility care and the impact of state insurance mandates in the United States: analysis from a popular crowdfunding platform

A substantial amount of money is requested by online crowdfunding for infertility-related costs, with more campaigns per capita in states without legislation mandating infertility insurance coverage.
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VOLUME 116, ISSUE 4, P1119-1125

Authors:

Jeremy D. Lai, M.D., M.B.A., Richard J. Fantus, M.D., Andrew J. Cohen, M.D., Vivian Wan, B.A., Matthew T. Hudnall, M.D., M.P.H., Minh Pham, M.D., Robert E. Brannigan, M.D., Joshua A. Halpern, M.D., M.S. 

Abstract:

Objective

To examine infertility-related fund-raising campaigns on a popular crowdfunding website and to compare campaign characteristics across states with and without legislative mandates for insurance coverage for infertility-related care.


Design

Retrospective cohort study.


Setting

Online crowdfunding platform (GoFundMe) between 2010 and 2020.


Patient(s)

GoFundMe campaigns in the United States containing the keywords “fertility” and “infertility.”


Intervention(s)

State insurance mandates for infertility treatment coverage.


Main Outcome Measure(s)

Primary outcomes included fund-raising goals, funds raised, campaign location, and campaigns per capita.


Result(s)

Of the 3,332 infertility-related campaigns analyzed, a total goal of $52.6 million was requested, with $22.5 million (42.8%) successfully raised. The average goal was $18,639 (standard deviation [SD] $32,904), and the average amount raised was $6,759 (SD $14,270). States with insurance mandates for infertility coverage had fewer crowdfunding campaigns per capita (0.75 vs. 1.15 campaigns per 100,000 population than states without insurance mandates.


Conclusion(s)

We found a large number of campaigns requesting financial assistance for costs associated with infertility care, indicating a substantial unmet financial burden. States with insurance mandates had fewer campaigns per capita, suggesting that mandates are effective in mitigating this financial burden. These data can inform future health policy legislation on the state and federal levels to assist with the financial burden of infertility.

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