Episode 101: Fighting for Fertility Coverage: State Mandate in Colorado
It’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), and Progyny is hosting a six-part series of back-to-back episodes featuring several experts who are fighting for fertility coverage. Our goal is to educate others on how they can advocate for themselves and ask for the support that’s needed from their employer or state to build the family of their dreams.
In this episode, you’ll hear from Christina Yannetsos, a key advocate for the expansion of fertility coverage in Colorado. Christina is a fighter in every sense of the word, competing in Judo at an Olympic level, putting her energy towards injured athletes, then lobbying for fertility warriors like herself. Since she made such an impact on families in Colorado, you’d think she would have coverage for her own fertility healthcare, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Although she made progress on the state level, her employer is self-insured, so the state mandates don’t apply.
As you can see, there is still much more work to be done! Christina is still working hard with RESOLVE and the Colorado Fertility Advocates to continue to make a difference. Tune in to learn how you can advocate for coverage in your state.
Guest: Christina Yannetsos, Colorado Fertility Advocates, Emergency Physician, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Forensic Examiner Program.
Host: Dan Bulger
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
United in the Same Cause
8:16 – 9:33
Dan Bulger: At the beginning, Christina mentioned that she’s on the board of the Colorado Fertility Advocates – that’s coming. That’s different than Colorado Fertility Advocacy, which is the organization Christina started.
Christina Yannetsos: I was trying to unite a number of fertility patients going through similar journeys, but they also wanted to make a change for others. So at that point, I started reaching out to Fertility Within Reach and RESOLVE and a number of the states who had passed laws recently who all who were in the process to kind of figure out what they had done and what those next steps were. And in reviewing a number of bills, I kind of built an online presence at that point, uniting like different people from different backgrounds. And it was at that point that there was another group also forming. Colorado Fertility Advocates, who are kind of in the process of the same thing. Our group was formed initially by attorneys and military advocates and different agencies who are either services or donor based. We all united together and started coming up with a plan.
Coverage Creates Better Decision Making
Christina Yannetsos: The thing about having fertility coverage is that there’s been data and literature to suggest it’s better medicine. So patients will go undergo multiple IUIs, or Intrauterine Inseminations, and it’s much less successful than IVF, in general. And then a lot of patients because they are choosing to pay out of pocket or not choosing because they’re forced to pay out of pocket, they go about doing things that aren’t necessarily the safest practices. For example, some patients choose to transfer two embryos versus one, which, you know, a twin pregnancy can increase your rates of preterm labor, NICU stays, etc. And it can also have increased risk to mom and baby. So, it’s not the best when it comes down to whether you’re paying for yourself out of pocket, or whether it’s insurance related. And it has been shown that making sure that there is insurance coverage can improve patient and baby outcomes.
Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the last six years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he as interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility. On a personal note Dan’s parents started fostering kids when he was four years old, and he considers himself a proud older brother to over 100 foster children.
Christina moved to Colorado from Miami, Florida to train at the Olympic Training Center in the sport of judo. She qualified her division for the 2004 Olympics for the US, and attended the Olympics in Athens, Greece as Olympic Alternate after sustaining an injury at Olympic Trials. It was after this that she decided to pursue her life long passion of caring for patients. She completed her undergraduate education at the University of Colorado, graduating with honors on the Dean’s list with a major in Biology, minor in psychology. Her dream was achieved when she was accepted to medical school and completed her residency in Emergency Medicine becoming a Board Certified Physician. Throughout her education, the importance of being a passionate advocate for patients and her community stood strong. She values contributing to her community and volunteered to teach Obesity Education, Ready Set Fit to underprivileged schools; volunteered for Non profits such as Free Healthcare Clinics, Big Brothers and Big Sisters events, Special Kids Special Families; created fundraisers for Cinderella’s Closet and the Wisconsin Alliance Fire Safety Burn Camp, and continues to volunteer for the USOC and USA Judo as team physician.
After spending years “trying not to get pregnant” she realized that she too was an infertility warrior battling the emotional, physical and significant financial challenges associated with infertility. Frustrated with the lack of resources and support to build families, she started Colorado Fertility Advocacy with the hopes of joining passionate like minds who can be the voice to create change for others struggling with infertility. Here is where she was fortunate to find strong, passionate voices willing to unite to become advocates for our Colorado families and the form the non profit Colorado Fertility Advocates. Dog mom and Wife to a loving supportive husband, she continues her journey with the hopes to add a miracle baby to their family and desire to help others do the same.