US: Maryland changes state employee health care to include transition-related services
Maryland has change its state employee health care policy to include coverage for transition-related health care.
The change in language was made in response to a legal claim filed by FreeState Legal, a Maryland LGBT organisation, on behalf of Sailor Holobaugh.
Holobaugh is a transgender state employee who was denied coverage for a bilateral mastectomy, transtition-related care not covered under the old policy.
In a FreeState Legal press release, executive director Aaron Merki said: “Maryland has moved one step closer to achieving full equality and justice for transgender Marylanders.
“We celebrate this development, and look forward to a time when these discriminatory exclusions are removed from all public and private health insurance policies.”
As part of the decision, the state agreed to reimburse Holobaugh for his surgical procedure. The state also removed the transition-related exclusion from all of the state employee health plans.
In its place, the state is implementing a new, comprehensive Gender Dysphoria Benefit in its place.
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The new benefit is effective immediately. It will provide coverage for transition-related treatment deemed medically necessary, including hormone replacement therapy and a variety of surgical procedures.
The Gender Dysphoria Benefit applies to all participants in the state’s health benefit program for state employees. This also includes retirees, spouses, and dependents.
Holobaugh said in the statement: “I am thrilled that people who serve Maryland as state employees now have increased access to health services, and that they can extend these benefits to their dependents.”