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Archive for the ‘Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg’ tag

Important Infertility Insurance Coverage Issues for the LGBT Community in New York

By Tracey Minella

June 22nd, 2017 at 8:31 am

From Stonewall to date, the LGBT community has always had to fight for rights equal to those of the heterosexual community, often in an atmosphere of “us against them”. Persistence has always paid off…eventually. As we’ve seen from winning battles on openly serving in the military with the repeal of “Don’t ask. Don’t tell” and the legalization of same-sex marriage (#LoveWins), we can move mountains as a community united.

 

The latest major gay rights fight involves insurance coverage for infertility treatment in New York.

 

The subject of mandated infertility insurance coverage in New York State has been in the news lately, but before addressing an important pending bill that could positively impact the infertility insurance rights of all New Yorkers– heterosexual and non-heterosexual– we must examine and understand the existing obstacles to LGBT infertility treatment coverage.

 

Currently, New York State has a mandate which requires coverage for infertility treatments. It’s one of only 15 states to do so, which sounds promising, but it’s not. With so many existing definitions, restrictions, qualifications, and loopholes, the mandate in its current form does very little to benefit New York’s infertile heterosexual couples– and does even less for non-heterosexual couples or single women who need advanced reproductive technologies in order to start their families.

 

Some of the major problems with the current New York State infertility coverage mandate include:

 

  • It does not cover in vitro fertilization (“IVF”), but only applies to intrauterine inseminations (“IUIs) and other low-level/less successful infertility treatments, which are also riskier in terms of causing a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.);
  • Small group employers can opt out of having to provide this coverage;
  • Insurance carriers may impose certain restrictions and rules that impact the employees’ ability to access the benefits.

 

Some insurance carriers that do offer IVF require both heterosexual and non-heterosexual couples to undergo 6-12 unsuccessful IUI cycles before moving on to IVF treatment (6 IUIs if the woman is over 35, or 12 IUIs if under 35, though some require less).

 

In addition to the above multiple-failed-IUIs prerequisite for IVF coverage, the employee must satisfy the insurance carrier’s definition of “infertility”. “Insurance companies define ‘infertility’ as the inability to conceive after one year of frequent, unprotected heterosexual intercourse, or six months if patient is over the age of 35″.

 

Applying this definition to heterosexual couples merely costs them 6-12 months of time before moving onto IVF treatment—provided they can somehow prove they’re doing it often enough and without protection. And while up to a year of time wasted really is a big deal to all infertile folks, the impact on non-heterosexuals and single women is far worse.

 

When applying this definition to a same-sex couple or a single woman, they not only lose valuable time, but they also lose money that a heterosexual couple would not. Because for same-sex couples or single women to meet the current definition of “infertility”, they would have to undergo six or 12 months of IUI with donor sperm treatments — in many cases, at their own expense –just to prove their infertility so that they could qualify for covered infertility treatments.

 

This issue was thrust into public view when two lesbian couples in New Jersey filed a federal lawsuit alleging that the language of the New Jersey insurance mandate “discriminates based on sex and sexual orientation”.

 

There is also disparity among insurance companies with respect to requiring authorizations for IUIs, requiring IUIs with donor sperm prior to approving infertility treatment, and coverage for the cost of donor sperm or thawing the sperm. In addition, companies offer different levels of coverage, which may be dependent upon copayments, deductibles and other restrictions on certain services like embryo cryopreservation, embryo storage, Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis or Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (“PGD” or “PGS”) of embryos, and more. To further complicate matters, even within the same insurance company, there are different individual plans that are chosen by the employer which provide different benefits coverage and different qualifications or benefits structure.

 

That’s why Long Island IVF assigns each patient a personal financial counselor to help guide them through the complicated insurance process to maximize any benefits to which they may be entitled.

 

Despite the obstacles that currently exist, there is good news to report and even more promising change on the horizon.

 

As a result of New York Governor Cuomo’s mandate to New York State insurance companies, they may no longer exclude same-sex prospective parents or single prospective parents from infertility coverage. While this is a victory, the sticking point for true reform and open access to appropriate infertility coverage for both heterosexual and non-heterosexual patients requires a redefinition of “infertility” and direct access to IVF.

 

There have already been noticeable changes in policies and the provision of coverage for IUIs with donor sperm in same-sex couples, presumably collectively-driven by Gov. Cuomo’s mandate, along with the New Jersey lawsuit, and forward-thinking, large-scale employers like Facebook and Google now offering high-end infertility insurance coverage for egg-freezing services. But the bottom line is that until a patient meets the “infertility” definition, they still have to self-pay.

 

That’s why we need the definition of ‘infertility’ to change. And we need access to IVF, which is the more successful treatment in terms of a singleton birth outcome.

 

And it is within our grasp right now.

 

As this article is being written, a bill that would revolutionize the infertility insurance law in New York for the benefit of heterosexuals, same-sex couples, and single women is awaiting consideration by the Senate after having passed in the Assembly this week.

 

The Senate Bill S.3148A known as the “Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act”, or (“FAFTA”), if enacted, would not only mandate coverage for IVF treatment, but it would change the application of the definition of “infertility” to:

 

“a disease or condition characterized by the incapacity to impregnate another person or to conceive, as diagnosed or determined (I) by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this state, or (II) by the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse in the case of a female 35 years of age or older.”

 

According to Long Island IVF co-founder and reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, who has been advocating for the passage of the FAFTA bill, “the current mandate’s specific exclusion of coverage for IVF has resulted in much emotional and financial cost spent on inferior or inappropriate treatments which ARE covered by the mandate when, for over 50% of infertile couples, IVF was the best or only treatment.” He further notes that “IVF is far safer in terms of reducing multiple pregnancy risk than less successful and often inferior treatments like ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination (IUI). There has been waste and needless sacrifice for insured couples denied IVF.”

 

It is time for both the heterosexual and the LGBT communities to get active and push our respective representatives to pass this legislation. You can find your local senator here or can access their phone number here. Armed with Senate Bill number S. 3148A, a simple phone call expressing your support of the bill may make all the difference. It takes less than one minute to help support this latest gay rights fight for fair access to appropriate infertility treatment and insurance coverage. Do it now.

 

There has never been a better time for non-heterosexuals to fulfill their dream of parenthood. If you would like more information on the many available LGBT family-building options, we encourage you to join Long Island IVF and our partner, The LGBT Network, on June 29, 2017 for a special free seminar entitled “Building Families in the LGBT Community”. Pre-register here.

 

This progressive legislation not only opens the door to IVF access for all, but it changes the definition of infertility to one that encompasses everyone, regardless of sex or sexual orientation. Instead of “us against them” it’s “one for all”. Its passage would put everybody suffering from the disease of infertility one giant step closer to our common dream of parenthood– and maybe, just maybe, a step closer to us all being one united community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Long Island IVF Joins Lobbying Efforts for Mandated IVF Coverage in New York State

By Daniel Kenigsberg,MD

June 7th, 2017 at 10:10 am

 

Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, Co-Founder Long Island IVF

 

I am lobbying for passage of Senate Bill S3248, a bill sponsored by Sen. Diane Savino of Staten Island, N.Y. which would mandate In-Vitro Fertilization (“IVF”) coverage in New York State –just as it is in neighboring states including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Our patients and other New Yorkers struggling with the significant emotional and financial burdens of infertility are under the impression that they live in a progressive state, but little do most know how poorly served they are by existing New York law.

Currently, the law mandates coverage for “correctable” medical conditions causing Infertility–but specifically EXCLUDES coverage for IVF. This has resulted in much emotional and financial cost spent on inferior or inappropriate treatments which ARE covered when, for over 50% of infertile couples, IVF was the best or only treatment.

IVF is far safer in terms of reducing multiple pregnancy risk than less successful and often inferior treatments like ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination (IUI). There has been waste and needless sacrifice for insured couples denied IVF.

Further, not covering IVF treatment has a disproportionate effect on women (name one male treatment not covered by medical insurance). In Massachusetts, 5% of births result from IVF. In New York, it’s 1.5%. That is how dramatic the current arcane New York law hurts the population it is supposed to protect.

You can help right this wrong. And it won’t take more than 5 minutes of your time.

Call, write and email your state senator. You can find your senator here. Please note that mine is John Flanagan of Smithtown, Senate Majority Leader.

Also, contact Senator Savino of Staten Island because it is her bill to push and prioritize (or not). You can contact her here.

If you are currently suffering from infertility, it can be an overwhelmingly difficult time, but if you have a moment to reach out to your senator and Senator Savino, and any other local representatives, the combined effect of all of our voices can make a big difference. Or if your infertility journey has already been resolved, please reach out as well for the benefit of all that are now– and will someday be– following in your footsteps. And please share this with your family and friends so they may do the same. Thank you.

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Long Island IVF WINS “Best In Vitro Fertility Practice” in Best of Long Island 2015!

By admin

January 20th, 2015 at 2:28 pm

 

It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 contest. Unlike prior years, for the 10th anniversary of the BOLI contest, there could only be one winner per category with no runners-up.

We just received word that we won. Thanks to all of you!

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to each and every one of you who took the time to cast a vote in our favor. From the moms juggling LIIVF toddlers… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.

We love what we get to do every day…build families. And that’s all the thanks we really need. But your endorsement of us to your friends, families, and the public (by voting for us) means so much and will enable us to help even more infertile couples fulfill their dreams of building a family.

As we usher in 2015…our 27th year…we will continue to offer our unique blend of cutting-edge medical technologies and holistic, personal support… wrapped in the comfort of a private, non-hospital setting.

Thanks again. Happy New Year to all.

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Long Island IVF’s 25th Anniversary Reunion Recap

By Tracey Minella

May 17th, 2013 at 9:14 pm

 

The only thing more perfect than the beautiful spring weather for Long Island IVF’s 25th Anniversary reunion party yesterday was the smiles on the faces of all of our babies and their grateful parents!

Every spring, Long Island IVF celebrates the births of our most recent IVF arrivals with a picnic for that year’s newborns and their parents. But this year…for our big anniversary…we opened it up to all 5,000+ couples whose families we’ve helped build over the past quarter century! Please “like” us on Facebook and check out some more reunion pictures there.

For those who don’t know, Long Island IVF was the practice to bring Long Island its first IVF baby, first FET/cryo baby, and first donor egg baby. The same doctors who co-founded Long Island IVF twenty-five years ago are still partners today.

We cherish every little life we’ve helped create, from the college grads to those being conceived today. But it was especially exciting to reunite with some of our oldest babies, now all grown-up, including the second baby born to Long Island IVF’s program, Alyssa.

Alyssa is the beautiful 24 year-old blonde in the picture with Dr. Kreiner. She and her mother came (her 21 year-old younger brother couldn’t make it) and they were instant “celebrities” as word spread throughout the crowd that Baby #2 was “in the house”. They each addressed the crowd, recalling how important Long Island IVF was in their lives, in a very emotional moment of the day that really helped bring home the magnitude of what Long Island IVF has meant to so many couples for 25 years and counting.

Other beautiful older babies were there. Some reiterated the same sentiment as they spoke about their lives…lives that would not have been possible without Long Island IVF. It was a humbling and gratifying experience for the whole Long Island IVF staff. As always, the fresh crop of adorable newborns and toddlers, decked out in their finest, were a joy to meet and gush over!

Everyone at Long Island IVF would like to thank all of the parents and children who came out to celebrate this very important milestone with us…and all those who were there in spirit, but were not able to come.

You and your families are beautiful. You all inspire us each day to do the work we love…building families. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us the privilege of building yours.

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Were you at the party? Please share your thoughts and feel free to upload a photo on our Facebook page.

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LIIVF’s “Every Baby’ s Beautiful” Pageant Parade Video

By Tracey Minella

June 19th, 2012 at 10:08 pm

When I was doing IVF, one of the things I focused on when I’d get discouraged was the annual Long Island IVF reunion. It was my dream to get to that picnic with my little miracle. Some day, I vowed, I’m gonna get there.

In the summer of 1998, I got my chance and it was every bit as exciting as I’d imagined it’d be. Back then, all babies were still invited. It was a barely manageable crowd due to the years of successful baby-making. They used to bring in a crane or cherry-picker fire truck just to be able to get a photo of the crowd of families.

These days, they unfortunately have to limit the reunion to the most recent “class” of babies born through the program. So they decided to make it an exciting outing for the little attendees.

Check out the footage of LIIVF’s littlest wonders and their beaming parents at the recent reunion luncheon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ODaCHJsypk&feature=youtu.be

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Have you been to a reunion yet? If so, how was it? If not, does the thought of it keep you going in rough times?

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/hledej.php?hleda=driving+away

 

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Long Island IVF: Back to the Future 2012

By Tracey Minella

January 2nd, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Happy New Year to all of the friends and patients of Long Island IVF and East Coast Fertility.

As you probably know, these two powerhouse infertility practices have recently merged, and will now be known as Long Island IVF.

People by nature don’t like change. And when it happens to something as important as one’s chosen fertility practice, it’s bound to make some of you uncomfortable or nervous. Add the raging hormones, and you may be ready to kill…

Well, I have something very important to share that should make you all not only comfortable, but excited about this change. It is a short history lesson. Don’t you dare click away.

Back in the 80’s when IVF was pretty new, East Coast Fertility’s Dr. Kreiner and Long Island IVF’s Drs. Kenigsberg, Brenner, and Droesch were practicing together as Long Island IVF. These IVF pioneers were the first to bring IVF success to Long Island.

Long Island IVF has bragging rights to:

Long Island’s First IVF baby…

Long Island’s First Cryo baby…

Long Island’s First Donor Egg baby!

Now here’s the exciting part: After 10 years of growing as two separate practices, they are finally all back together again. This is not an experiment between strangers…these guys couldn’t know each other better! It’s the perfect union of high-tech and high-touch. So it’s wonderful for their patients.

And I should know. I was a patient when they were originally together. I also worked as a medical assistant beside all of those doctors (and many of the nurses). So you’ll have to trust me that I am doing a happy dance jig right now that they are back together again!

Everything a patient could want in an infertility practice is now available in one unified practice, including but not limited to:

·         Impressive success rates;

·         Center of Excellence distinction;

·         Payment options, grant, and refund programs;

·         Mind/Body, Acupuncture, Patient counseling, and Patient support programs;

·         Outstanding Donor Egg Program;

·         Single Embryo Transfer Program (w/free cryo, free storage, and free cryo transfers*);

·         Micro-IVF Program ($3,900 mini-IVF program*);

·         Experienced and compassionate medical staffs;

·         Locations all over Long Island, and Brooklyn.

So I ask you to think back to 1988. How old were you? Elementary school, maybe? Still playing with dolls? Well, these doctors were already together making babies by then.

When I needed them in 1992, they already had the reputation as the best on Long Island. I worked for them for six years back then. Dr. Kenigsberg did my transfer when I got pregnant with my daughter and Dr. Kreiner did the transfer with my son. I can’t say enough about the individual genius of these two doctors, and the collective genius of all of LI-IVF’s doctors. There is certainly a doctor with a style and personality that will suit yours.

I’m telling you as a grateful IVF mother and former patient and medical assistant, that you could not be in better hands. The doctors, nurses, and embryologists who created my family are together again to help you build yours. I am so happy for all of you and hope that 2012 will be the year all your dreams come true.

You can start doing YOUR happy dance jig now!

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Do you have any questions or concerns about the merger of the practices? Please ask.

*please see  website for further details on these programs

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