2015 was a momentous year for the growing transgender community in America!
Employers, both in the public and private arena, are beginning to openly support transgender employees. Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced their plans of lifting the ban that prohibits transgender men and women to openly join the military. Next, the White House hired its first openly transgender staff. And there’s Caitlyn Jenner of course.
At our transgender surgery practice in San Francisco, we are stoked for what 2016 has in store for the country’s transgender community. Dr. Mosser at the rest of the team believes that 2016 will the year that majority of transgender folks can finally lead authentic lives.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act!
On September 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a new set of proposed regulations protecting transgender individuals from discrimination in health care settings that receive federal funding through the agency — from doctor’s clinics to hospitals to health insurance coverage.
Here’s an excerpt of section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act:
The basic requirement of the law is that consumers cannot be denied health services or health coverage or discriminated against in other ways in health services or coverage because of their race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.
The proposed rule addresses some of the populations that have historically been subject to discrimination. For example, the proposed rule includes prohibitions on gender identity discrimination as a form of sex discrimination..
What’s In It For You?
By and large, section 1557 empowers transgender men and women who will experience discrimination (which unfortunately is still widespread today) based on their gender preference in health care settings.
In the latest Obamacare, the term health care settings is not only limited to hospitals and clinics but also programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and private health insurance plans sold under the new Affordable Care Act.
Anyone who refuses to treat individuals who identify as transgender counts as discrimination. A complaint can be filed to the HHS Office of Civil Rights. Originally a rule implemented in only 10 states including D.C., section 1557 made transgender discrimination protection in healthcare applicable on a national scale.
In a MarketWatch report, Quentin Fottrell writes:
It’s never been easier for transgender people to access gender reassignment surgery — if they have insurance and live in the right state.
Take it from Lisa Larson of South Carolina who’s working with surgeons in Georgia to cut down costs on her gender reassignment surgery.
Additionally, Obamacare recognizes that being transgender is no longer a pre-existing condition . This means insurance providers cannot deny you of coverage nor charge for more if your gender preference is different from the one you’re born with.
Obamacare for Transgender Surgery in California
If you’re currently living in California, the wonderful folks at Transgender Law Center has compiled this useful guide – What Transgender Californians Need To Know About Health Care Reform. Here’s a useful except in terms of having your sex reassignment surgery covered:
Medi-Cal covers some transition-related care, as well as the full range of gender-specific care (e.g., mammograms, pap smears). Cross-gender hormone replacement therapy is a covered benefit, as are some forms of gender reassignment surgery. Surgical treatment options are approved on a case-by-case basis.
Ultimately, look no further if you’re wondering which insurers offer plans without blanket exclusions for your health care needs. Here’s a list culling the specific transgender health care coverage of popular health care insurance providers in the country.
Learn more about how the Obamacare can help you lead a more authentic life in 2016 by getting in touch with Dr. Mosser today. We look forward to answering your questions!