August 19, 2008
Honda Criticized for Discriminatory Insurance Practices
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Doctors and health care professionals at Alabama Fertility Specialists were caught off guard when they looked into Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) insurance coverage for one of their patients. ART includes costly, but effective procedures like in vitro fertilization, intra-uterine insemination and other methods used with women who are having difficulty getting pregnant. Those doctors and health care professionals became concerned when they discovered Honda Manufacturing of Alabama refuses ART coverage for same sex couples.
"I was surprised and a little disappointed. I thought that big businesses in the United States were, by and large, recognizing domestic partnerships like this for health care benefits," says Dr. Michael Steinkampf, MD of Alabama Fertility Specialists, who's been helping couples get pregnant for 21 years.
Karen Hammond, MSN, CRNP, who works alongside Steinkampf says, "Since their Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama policy offers ART benefits, it is extremely troubling that Honda has chosen to solely and specifically exclude same sex partners from ART benefits."
The BC/BS Honda Manufacturing of Alabama policy specifically states:
"Benefits for fertility treatment and ART are limited to a lifetime maximum payment of $30,000.00."
The above verbiage applies to heterosexual couples. The disturbing part of the policy reads:
"Effective January 1, 2008, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama requests that Blue Cross and Blue Shield exclude domestic partners (same sex partners) from ART benefits including diagnostic services related to fertility/infertility that have a fertility or infertility diagnosis".
Steinkampf says, "I do have some personal experience providing infertility services for such patients. I have found them to be very good patients and excellent parents. I have watched these children grow up over the years and they are healthy and happy in every way. They are no different than any other children."
"It is disappointing to see a company of this caliber and size discriminating against a certain population of patients," says Hammond.
The American Fertility Association has proudly joined forces with Alabama Fertility Specialists to raise awareness about this rapidly growing form of discrimination now being placed upon the thousands of hard working men and women of Honda Manufacturing of Alabama.
"For one of the world's leading automakers to discriminate and deny medical coverage for a disease, based on someone's personal orientation, is downright appalling," says Hammond.
The American Fertility Association is a lifetime resource for fertility preservation, reproductive health and family building. We offer services through our free membership program including an extensive online library, weekly online chats, telephone and in-person coaching, hosted message boards and a toll-free support line. Contact us at http://www.theafa.org/ or 888.917.3777.
Alabama Fertility Specialists
Dr. Steinkampf received his MD degree at the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. His specialty training in Ob/Gyn and Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility took place at Parkland Hospital and the University of Texas/Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He has been board certified in Ob/Gyn and Reproductive Endocrinology/Infertility since 1989.
Karen Hammond has worked in Obstetrics and Gynecology since 1981 and in the reproductive endocrinology and infertility field since 1985. A native of Birmingham, Alabama, she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Alabama, School of Nursing in Birmingham. She is NCC certified as an OB/Gyn Nurse Practitioner and Reproductive Endocrinology/ Infertility Nurse.
Contacts: The American Fertility Association Brian Armentrout Communications Director 205.425.3644 (O) 917.324.1545 (C) [email protected] Alabama Fertility Specialists Karen Hammond, MSN, CRNP 205.874.0000 (O) [email protected]
The American Fertility Association
CONTACT: Brian Armentrout, Communications Director of The AmericanFertility Association, +1-205-425-3644, Cell +1-917-324-1545, [email protected]; or Karen Hammond, MSN, CRNP, +1-205-874-0000, [email protected], for Alabama Fertility Specialists
Web site: http://www.theafa.org/