April 23, 2024

Duckworth, Connolly Lead 176 Members of Congress in Push to Ensure Federal Workers’ Health Insurance Carriers Cover IVF Treatment and Medication


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) led 176 of their colleagues in urging the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to help ensure all insurance carriers in the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Program—the largest employer-sponsored health insurance plan in the world —cover IVF medical treatments and medications in plan year 2025.

“For plan year 2024, OPM succeeded in providing Federal employees with 24 FEHB plan options providing varying levels of coverage of ART,” wrote the Members in their letter. “Critically, for the first time in FEHB’s history, OPM secured inclusion of a national plan with ART coverage, ensuring that every Federal employee, no matter where they live, will be guaranteed at least some coverage of ART services.”

“As OPM begins to prepare for plan year 2025, we strongly urge you to build on the impressive progress the Biden administration has made in empowering the Federal Government to effectively recruit and retain the next generation of civil servants by requiring all FEHB carriers to cover IVF medical treatments and medications in plan year 2025,” the Members continued. “At a time when IVF is increasingly under attack by the extreme personhood movement, President Biden would send a strong message that his administration, in word and deed, are true champions of safeguarding the right of families to decide if, when and how to build a family.”

Along with Duckworth, the letter was co-signed by U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Laphonza Butler (D-CA) and Chris Coons (D-DE).

You can find a copy of the letter text linked here.

Duckworth and Connolly are the authors of the Family Building FEHB Fairness Act, bipartisan legislation to help ensure FEHB carriers cover assisted reproductive technology, including IVF. In August 2022, Duckworth and Connolly wrote to OPM to urge the agency to require FEHB carriers to cover ART services and treatments. In August of 2023, Connolly and Duckworth wrote to OPM to urge them to update the definition of infertility used by health insurance carriers participating in the Federal Employees Health Benefit (FEHB) program to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community.

Throughout her time in the Senate, Duckworth has made protecting reproductive freedom and expanding access to IVF top priorities in the face of Republicans’ anti-choice crusade. Duckworth is the lead sponsor of the Access to Family Building Act, legislation that would establish a federal right for patients to access IVF, for healthcare providers to provide IVF if they want to as well as for insurance companies to cover IVF. In February, Duckworth led a group of Senate Democrats in calling for the bill’s passage through unanimous consent, but U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) objected, blocking the effort. This was the second time Senate Republicans blocked Duckworth-led legislation that would protect access to IVF nationwide. The Access to Family Building Act builds on previous legislation she introduced in 2022.

Duckworth was the first Senator to give birth while serving in office and had both of her children with the help of IVF. In 2018 she advocated for the Senate to change its rules so she could bring her infant onto the Senate floor.