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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Nevada Becomes Tenth State to Ban Transgender Health Exclusions

This week Nevada became the tenth state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to prohibit discriminatory transgender exclusions in state-regulated health insurance plans. Nevada joins a national trend of state agencies getting rid of health exclusions for transgender people. States that California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington State, and DC as well as the federal Medicare program. This announcement follows the announcement by the Office of Personnel Management that health insurance plans for federal employees may no longer maintain blanket exclusions for transition-related care.

The bulletin, which went to all health insurance carriers, prohibits the “denial, exclusion, or limitation of benefits relating to coverage of medically necessary health care services on the basis of sex as it related to gender identity or expression. Accordingly, a carrier may not deny, exclude or limit benefits for medically necessary health care services if the medically necessary health care would be provided at current standards of care to another covered person without regard to their gender identity or expression”. The Nevada Department of Business and Industry Division of Insurance utilized the state statute that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in public accommodations to prohibit transition related healthcare exclusions.

NCTE applauds Nevada Health for taking this necessary step in making sure that medically necessary transition related healthcare is accessible to transgender people. We urge people in Nevada to contact their insurance plan to ask about changes in coverage in light of this clarification of the law, and to contact trans-friendly legal organizations if they are denied transition-related care recommended by their provider. We will continue working with advocates across the country to make sure that no health insurance plan can have arbitrary exclusions against transition related care.   

We urge anyone who have faced discrimination in health insurance coverage to consult NCTE’s Know Your Rights resources and consider seeking legal help.

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