Altshuler Berzon LLP files nationwide class action lawsuit against Aetna alleging fertility policies discriminate against LGBTQ people

On April 17, 2023, Altshuler Berzon LLP, together with Liu Peterson-Fisher LLP and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging that Aetna’s policies discriminate against LGBTQ people who seek to get pregnant using fertility treatments. The lawsuit alleges that Aetna’s discriminatory infertility policy requires LGBTQ people who wish to become pregnant to pay more and wait longer before accessing the fertility benefits covered by their Aetna health plans, compared to those in heterosexual relationships. Aetna makes fertility treatments readily accessible to plan members in heterosexual relationships who seek them but requires LGBTQ plan members who wish to have children with their partners to submit proof that they have undergone six or 12 cycles (depending on age) of arduous and expensive artificial insemination treatments – among the very fertility treatments for which they seek coverage – before they can access the fertility benefits included in their health plans.

The lawsuit alleges that Aetna’s infertility policy violates Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination in health care based on sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Plaintiff Mara Berton brings this class action on behalf of others similarly situated, seeking damages for LGBTQ Californians harmed by Aetna’s discriminatory policy, as well as nationwide injunctive relief enjoining Aetna’s discriminatory policy once and for all.

The complaint can be found here, and further information about the case is available here.