US: Illinois Department of Insurance addresses transgender discrimination in coverage

Katie Dupere July 29, 2014
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The Illinois Department of Insurance released a bulletin to insurance providers on Monday addressing discrimination against transgender Illinoisans in insurance coverage.

The bulletin, which was issued to private insurers in Illinois, states that these insurers must provide transgender policy holders coverage for medical treatments available for non-transgender policy holders.

The bulletin cites Illinois state law and the Affordable Care Act, both of which prohibit discrimination by insurers against transgender people because of their gender identity.

The bulletin explicitly addresses problematic language previously used by insurers that specifically targets transgender populations from receiving coverage for transition-related medical care.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Lambda Legal and the TransLife Center of Chicago House & Social Service Agency released a statement Tuesday commending the insurance department for the action.

The statement said: “Transgender people often face discrimination when seeking insurance coverage of medically-necessary treatments prescribed by their physicians, even though such treatments are routinely covered for others.

“For example, hormone therapy and regular blood tests to guard against any negative medical consequences are routinely covered for many people, such as post-menopausal women, but are currently denied to many transgender people.

“Likewise, breast reconstruction surgery is routinely covered for women after surgery for breast cancer, but is routinely denied for transgender people, even if ordered by a physician.”

Christopher Clark, counsel for Lambda Legal, said in the statement: “Up until today, insurance plans often denied coverage for services from the routine to the complex simply on the basis of the individual being transgender.

“There is simply no justification for these denials.”

The statement points out that a limited number of private insurance plans currently remain outside of these non-discriminatory protections.

In June, the Illinois health insurance marketplace announced it was accepting applications for family cover for same-sex spouses, following the rollout of same-sex marriage across the state. 

Related topics: Affordable Care Act, Americas, gender dysphoria, Health, Illinois, insurance, lambda legal, Transgender, US

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