March 26, 2013
Rights Group Applauds Colorado Decision Banning Transgender Health Care Discrimination
Division of Insurance Bulletin Mandates Equal Health Insurance Coverage for Transgender Coloradans
Denver, CO - Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) applauds the release of a bulletin by the Colorado Division of Insurance which bans health insurance discrimination against transgender Coloradans. The bulletin mandates that transgender Coloradans be afforded the same care and treatment as all Coloradans under their health insurance plans. It bars the common practice of excluding medically necessary care prescribed for the treatment of gender dysphoria and requires private health insurance companies to cover medically necessary care for transgender Coloradans on the same terms that they cover all care.
"Transgender people pay the same premiums and just want the same health care that everyone else receives,” said TLDEF staff attorney Noah Lewis. “Transgender Coloradans routinely saw their medically necessary care singled out for exclusion by insurance companies even when the treatments they sought were covered for people who aren’t transgender," he added. "These exclusions were discriminatory and damaged the health of transgender Coloradans. The Colorado Division of Insurance has now declared that this must end.”
The medical necessity of transgender health care, including hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery, has been widely recognized in medicine and law. Organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health recognize these treatments as medically necessary and support insurance coverage for them. Since the 1970s, numerous state and federal courts have recognized that these treatments are medically necessary. Even the Internal Revenue Service recognizes transgender health care as medically necessary and tax deductible.
Colorado joins California, Oregon, and Washington, DC in prohibiting discrimination against transgender policyholders. "The Colorado Division of Insurance has stated that if you offer health care, you have to offer that health care to everyone - plain and simple," continued Lewis. "Colorado prides itself on its diversity and its commitment to fairness and equal rights for all its citizens. We applaud the Colorado Division of Insurance for taking this stand for simple fairness and equality in health care, and we congratulate the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and One Colorado for their work on this important issue.”