Like anyone, transgender people need preventive care to stay healthy and acute care when they become sick or injured. Some may also need medical care to treat gender dysphoria. Transgender people’s health care is both widely stigmatized and misunderstood. Those unfamiliar with the health needs of transgender people might portray transition-related care as “cosmetic” or a choice. The fact is that the medical necessity of transition-related care is overwhelmingly recognized by medical experts as effective and necessary for many transgender people.
Major medical groups like the American Medical Assocation, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics have detailed guidelines for providers working with youth and adults who are transgender, and those same groups oppose any discrimination against trans patients, including restrictions on the care or coverage a transgender person can receive. A hospital that refuses to treat a transgender person or an insurer who denies coverage because they are transgender is violating the law. For more, read our Know Your Rights page.
Despite the protections of the Affordable Care Act and other laws that prohibit discrimination, transgender people continue to encounter barriers to care. Transgender people face significant job loss and job fragility and, therefore, a higher rate of uninsurance. While the majority of public and private insurance plans still have removed exclusions that blatantly target transgender people, many plans continue to deny coverage for medically necessary care. Even when transgender people have access to comprehensive coverage, discrimination is still prevalent in many health care settings, and contributes to health disparities when compared to the general US population, including higher levels of HIV infection and suicidality. Discrimination is particularly dangerous in emergency situations, and in rural areas with few alternatives if one provider refuses to treat someone because they are transgender.
NCTE works with federal, state and local agencies and advocates to ensure that regulations, policies and laws are passed and implemented, which ensure that transgender people have access to quality health care