Sunday, November 23, 2014

It’s Nice To Hear Them Say That…

…All their policies now cover transgender healthcare.

I was at a banquet last night for a health clinic and one of their sponsors said that they now cover all healthcare for trans-people and I thought, “That’s nice, they just said that they are obeying the law.” It is just like when we had marriage equality here in Connecticut, insurance companies were advertising that their polices now covered same-sex partners… well DUH they had to cover them and it is the same thing for us. The insurance commissioner issued a statement last December saying that the insurance companies had to provides the same coverage for trans-people as they did for non-trans-people, so when I heard statements like last night’s I think the companies are just bragging that they are conforming to what the law requires.

A little talked about exception which is if your employer is self-insured under ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) they do not have to follow state law. However, I have heard that there is a case before the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) that asked if denying healthcare coverage for us is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, discrimination based on sex.

In addition, Medicaid here in Connecticut does not at this time cover healthcare for us. There was an open comment period on the removal of exclusions in Connecticut’s Medicaid plan for gender dysphoria treatment, GLAD, CTAC, and True Colors submitted a letter for its removal. It read in part…
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Connecticut Trans Advocacy Coalition and True Colors appreciate the efforts of the Connecticut Department of Social Services to remove discriminatory exclusions from public health programs…
We strongly support the revised regulations that remove coverage exclusions for gender transition services. Gender transition-related care, including provision of sex-reassignment surgery and other related surgeries and treatments such as hormone therapy, is recognized as medically necessary for the treatment of gender dysphoria.
We applaud the Department of Social Services for making regulatory changes that are in accordance with actions taken by the Connecticut Insurance Department on December 19, 2013. On that day, the Insurance Department issued Bulletin IC-37, which prohibits exclusions in individual and group insurance policies for treatment for gender dysphoria. The prohibition was based on Public Act 11-55, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in employment, public accommodations, housing, credit, public schools, state contracts, and numerous other areas, including health insurance practices. That Act applies to state agencies.
I believe that Lambda Legal also submitted a comment to the Department of Social Services.

Change is coming, sometimes it seem like moving too slow, but we are making headway.

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