As Japan grapples with low birthrate, FSA to allow insurance firms to cover infertility treatment

Kyodo

The Financial Services Agency plans to allow insurance companies to offer coverage for expensive infertility treatment in a bid to curb the declining birthrate, sources close to the matter said Tuesday. The change could be made this spring.

Infertility treatment is on the rise as more people are choosing to marry later in life, but the costs are not covered by public medical insurance. Some costs are, however, subsidized by the state and local municipalities.

The agency will solicit opinions on the issue before revising ordinance for the Insurance Business Law.

Insurance companies themselves will develop the coverage, which could be offered as an additional option within their medical insurance programs, the sources said.

In a report compiled in 2013, an FSA panel underlined the need to lift a ban on insurance products for infertility treatment. But there has been no major progress on it because of a lack of statistics on infertility treatment in Japan, the sources said.

Support for infertility treatment is considered increasingly important in tackling the falling birthrate.

With this in mind, the government last month expanded subsidies for in vitro fertilization and other forms of treatment, doubling the maximum amount for a couple making their first attempt to ¥300,000 ($2,490). The subsidies are income-tested.