Monday, August 29, 2005

Denial of IVF Treatments Not Disability Discrimination

Employers buy health insurance policies for their employees every day. One employer, the Hayward Unified School District, was sued by one of its employees because it offered a policy that excluded a treatment from coverage. The treatment was for infertility. The employee’s wife sought I.V.F.(in vitro fertilization) treatments through the policy, and a number of these kinds of treatments were covered and paid for. One especially expensive treatment was however excluded. This treatment was used by the employee’s wife, and she conceived and delivered. Her husband then sued for disability discrimination.

• What: The Court ruled for the Employer
• Why: The policy didn’t discriminate:
• The policy excluded all persons equally under the plan
• The exclusion was “treatment” based, not “disability” based.

The confusion: The exclusion had a greater affect on persons with a disability
The clarification: All health policies have this incidental affect.
The finding: An exclusion of a treatment in a policy universally applied is not discriminatory.
The Case: Knight v. Hayward Unified School District (August 2005) (1st App. Dist.)

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