With the federal government’s 2022 budget proposing to allow expenses related to fertility and surrogacy to be claimed by a wider range of individuals under the medical expense tax credit, will the move lead to increased coverage under workplace benefits plans?

The government’s proposal would expand the definition of a patient to include the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s partner, a surrogate mother or a donor. Although costs related to the use of reproductive technologies are already eligible expenses under the METC, they’re not available to those who need to pay the medical expenses of others in order to become a parent, according to a recent Aon information bulletin.

Read: What’s in the federal budget for employers, employees?

As employers expand their focus on diversity, equity and inclusion objectives, there’s been an increased interest in expanding the provision of fertility services and expenses, including surrogacy expenses, says Milica Hayle, vice-president of health solutions at Aon. “Historically, there have been exclusions in [insurance] contracts for certain expenses and this proposed change would allow for some of these expenses to be covered either under the insurance contract or through a health-care spending account.”

For employers that already have a health-care spending account, Hayle says adding these new parameters would be a fairly easy process from both a communications and contractual perspective. She expects minimal adjustments would be required if insurance companies allow these measures to be included in their contracts.

“We know that few employers have offered fertility benefits. What we’ve seen from organizations that do offer coverage, it has been specifically around fertility drugs, so we’re now seeing the expansion to fertility services. This would provide employers with the opportunity to cover surrogacy expenses without necessarily having significant contract changes.”

Read: Fertility benefits coverage is limited, outdated in Canada: report