Governor Announces Changes in Health Insurance Access for Transgender CommunityPosted by: Mason Dunn | Posted on: June 20, 2014
[MassEquality Press Release]
BOSTON ─ June 20 ─ Today, Governor Patrick announced several new changes providing non-discrimination protections for those seeking gender therapy services.
MassHealth, the state-subsidized health insurance provider, will soon cover gender affirmation surgery and other treatment for gender dysphoria. Additionally, the MA Department of Insurance (DOI) issued regulatory guidance advising health insurers that they may not discriminate on the basis of gender identity in denial of services. The administration also shared that they would be encouraging the Group Insurance Commission to take similar steps in ensuring equal access to gender therapy services.
“This is a monumental step forward for the LGBT community in the Commonwealth. We applaud Governor Patrick’s leadership in ensuring that transgender people receive the medically-necessary services they need to lead healthy, productive lives. We look forward to working with the administration on the implementation of these changes,” said MassEquality Executive Director Kara Coredini.
“Governor Patrick has once again illustrated his forward-looking and compassionate leadership in implementing these policies. As transgender rights become more visible across this country, Massachusetts will continue its tradition of being the beacon of light that so many other states can look to for guidance on equality,” said Mason Dunn, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.
Following on the heels of the Boston City Council’s recent unanimous decision on June 11 to not contract with any health insurer that does not provide gender therapy services, the Commonwealth’s decision will have an even broader impact, allowing transgender people across the state to access mental health care, hormone therapy, and other transition-related care.
Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care For All, states, “This is an immensely important step forward in ensuring that health coverage meets an individual’s full range of health care needs. We commend the Administration for again putting Massachusetts in the vanguard among states as a leader in health equity for everyone, and providing a model other states can use to improve access to care for all residents.”
Massachusetts will be the sixth state to enact non-discrimination policies regarding gender transition-related care. Washington, Oregon, Connecticut, Vermont and California have amended their state policies regarding health insurance provision for gender therapy services.
“As a national organization that advocates for LGBT health equity across the country, we are proud our home state of Massachusetts is leading the way in ensuring everyone has access to the health care services they need. This victory would not have been possible without strong advocacy at the state level and the committed partners working to secure these new benefits for transgender people,” said Susan Sherry, deputy director of Community Catalyst.
Contact: Michael Givens
Communications Manager, MassEquality