Gender Reassignment Surgery to Be Covered Under Obamacare

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 11:42 AM

By Andrea Billups

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Those Americans hoping for expensive gender reassignment surgery may now be able to afford it under the Obama healthcare law, The Daily Beast reports.

"We are still dependent on insurance and the medical community for us to be able to live authentically," Aydin Kennedy, coordinator of the transgender health program at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in Los Angeles, told the Beast of the new developments that offer transgender people hope.

The Obamacare law is seen as protecting transgender Americans from discrimination and helps them because it bars coverage denials based on pre-existing conditions, the Beast noted. Now, many in that community may purchase their own private plans, which allows them coverage for their needs. Those who live in states that have embraced Medicaid expansion under Obamacare may offer such new health developments for free to those who are transgender and with lower incomes.

Recently, the state of Oregon added transgender health to its state insurance program, a plan for low-income residents described as "historic" by health advocates nationally, the Oregonian reported.

A 13-member state board voted to approve the new program two weeks ago.

"Gender dysphoria has not been a covered condition until now," said Danielle Askini, policy director for Basic Rights Oregon in an interview with the Oregonian.

State estimates on usage rates suggest about 175 annually will take advantage of the new program at a cost for treatment of less than $150,000 yearly.

A Gallup poll found that many in the lesbian, gay, and transgender communities feel a lower sense of well-being that their straight counterparts and that includes health outcomes.

"Despite evidence of decreasing social stigma directed toward the LGBT community in the U.S., LGBT Americans — particularly LGBT women — show a wide range of well-being disparities compared with their non-LGBT counterparts," Gallup noted in releasing its report.

"These disparities associated with sexual orientation and gender identity highlight the ongoing need for the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity measures in data collection focused on health and socioeconomic outcomes, Gallup noted.

"Availability of better data that identify the LGBT population will help researchers, healthcare policymakers, and healthcare providers craft better strategies to understand and prevent well-being disparities associated with sexual orientation and gender identity."

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