Transgender Californians gain equality in health care

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The State of California’s Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued a directive which bans insurance companies from discriminating against transgender individuals. 

The April 9 directive mandates that the 2006 Insurance Non-Discrimination Act (backed by Assembly member Paul Koretz) guarantees that health care providers must cover any person regardless of their gender expression. Coupled with this, the Department of Insurance implemented a non-discrimination initiative which follows similar guidelines. 

Due to these new regulations, insurance companies are required to provide health coverage for gender non-conformists in the State of California. Additionally, the directive also indicates that anyone who is denied coverage has the right to appeal and demand that the Department provide further review of the decision. 

In addition to the DMHC board and the Legislative LGBT Caucus, change-makers at the forefront of bringing this directive forward include Governor Jerry Brown, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, and Assembly Speaker, John A. Pérez.

The Transgender Law Center’s executive director, Masen Davis, said “we have heard countless [cases]of trans people who have been denied coverage because they are transgender” in an interview with 429Magazine.

In a 2008 study conducted by The Transgender Law Center, poll results showed that 15% of transgender patients were denied access to gender-applicable and potentially life-saving health care routines such as prostate examinations and pap-smears, solely because they were transgender. 

“Implementation of California’s Insurance Gender Nondiscrimination Act (IGNA) is a simple matter of fairness and equality in health care” said Assembly Speaker Pérez, as reported by the Transgender Law Center. 

“It is a big step for transgender Californians to have access [to base line]coverage,” Davis continued. “We finally have a level playing field!”

429Magazine

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