Insurance Needs for Transgender Americans
A recently published article by the Center for American Progress discusses some important questions regarding health insurance for transgender Americans, specifically in regards to the exclusions to health care insurance and access that many transgender Americans experience, that health allies are shedding light on to improve and increase access to care. Read the whole article here.
Transgender-specific exclusions are unacceptable on both medical and ethical grounds. They arbitrarily target transgender people for discrimination by forcing them to pay out-of-pocket for the same medically necessary services provided to nontransgender people.
As discussed above, many medical services needed by transgender people during transition and at other points in their lives are part of the course of care required for other medical conditions and are routinely covered by health insurance plans. Hormone therapy, for instance, may be utilized for patients with low testosterone or estrogen levels or other endocrine disorders. Preventive care services such as pelvic or prostate exams are an important part of an overall health regimen for all individuals, while various surgeries and reconstructive procedures are commonly covered for treating injuries and intersex conditions, or for cancer treatment or prevention.
Equal access to health care, through insurance, access and decision-making, is an incredibly important issue to me, and I personally have worked to educate myself about transgender-specific health needs. This is an issue that is not only relevant to the people being denied insurance coverage and having to pay out of pocket for basic care, but relevant to all people who want to fight bias and discrimination in the health care system. I think this is a very informative and well-written article, and not only because I knew one of the authors, Andrew Cray, in college. This call to end insurance discrimination against transgender people will hopefully create awareness and help motivate people who want to affect change to start working to create insurance equality.