Win: Maryland Drops Insurance Exclusions for State Employees
The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) celebrates a Maryland resolution ending transgender health care exclusions for state employees. The case, brought forward by FreeState Legal, settles a complaint on behalf of Sailor Holobaugh, a transgender state employee who was denied medically necessary care. FreeState filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint as well as a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, alleging the denial of health care coverage for a transition-related procedure was discrimination on the basis of gender identity. Today’s settlement includes reimbursement for the employee’s surgery, but also requires removal of transition-related care exclusions from all state employee health plans. The settlement also creates a new comprehensive Gender Dysphoria Benefit in state employee health plans. The benefit covers all medically necessary transition-related treatment, including hormone replacement therapy and various surgical procedures. "We applaud Maryland and the administration of Governor O’Malley for becoming the fourth state to ensure coverage of transition-related care for state employees, joining Massachusetts, Oregon and California, along with the District of Columbia," said National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling. The decision follows enactment of the Fairness for all Marylanders Act earlier this year, explicitly banning discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations.
In the momentum of these important victories, we urge Maryland to continue to fight to ensure comprehensive health coverage for all Marylanders, including removal of transition-related exclusions from Maryland's Medicaid and private insurance programs. Currently five states and the District of Columbia mandate coverage of transition-related care in private insurance. Of these, California, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia explicitly cover transition-related care in their Medicaid programs. NCTE will continue to push alongside state advocacy groups to ensure continued health care coverage victories.