Quebec Government Now Funds IVF Treatments: Can Patients Afford to Wait?
The province of Quebec is now funding in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. Proponents of government coverage for fertility treatments claim the decision will not only benefit patients but will also provide some cost savings to the Canadian health care system. However, the true cost of this decision remains to be seen.
The increased demand for publicly funded IVF treatments is bound to create a supply shortage resulting in waiting lists and the prioritization of patients according to government guidelines.
An immediate injection of cash from the government is expected to increase capacity in the system for the short-term, but what about sustainable funding down the road? Other countries providing publicly funded fertility treatments, including the UK, Australia and Denmark, are making cutbacks in funding or services to try and contain costs in their public health care systems.
As of August 5, 2010, Quebec patients must access IVF treatments in accordance with their provincial Medicare program. Those wanting to avoid the health care bureaucracy and pay for timely access to private treatment will be forced to travel out of province.
Quebec’s decision to provide public funding for IVF treatments raises an important question for patients in the province. Can you afford to wait?