Tags: State Department | transgender | insurance | policy

State Department Drops Transgender Exclusion Policy

By    |   Monday, 13 October 2014 02:04 PM

The State Department has dropped its transgender exclusion policy and is urging insurance companies which cover the department's employees to pay for transgender procedures.

The Washington Post reported that the American Foreign Service Protective Association (AFSPA), the largest insurer of foreign service employees, has agreed to drop the exclusion effective in January, while about a dozen other companies insuring State employees are being requested to do so.

The State Department told The Washington Post that the exclusion "denies coverage to transgender people for the same treatments available to nontransgender policyholders, without regard to medical necessity," adding that, "Insurance companies often view this exclusion in the broadest possible terms, excluding care that clearly has no relationship to gender status, such as cancer treatment and routine preventive care."

Secretary of State John Kerry told the Post, "It's about fairness and respect for our employees, but it's also about showing the world we mean what we say and say what we mean."

"It's tough to tell other countries to provide equal opportunity if we're not living that out ourselves."

The exclusion had required insurance carriers to not provide "services, drugs, or supplies related to sex transformations."

The AFSPA insurance plan for 2015 now specifies that the plan will cover "Transgender surgical services (gender reassignment surgery) to treat gender dysphoria," provided the patient is over 18, has been diagnosed as a transsexual, has "completed a recognized program of transgender identity treatment" and has "obtained preauthorization for the surgery even if the proposed treatment is outside of the 50 United States."

It will cover "For female-to-male surgery: mastectomy, hysterectomy, vaginectomy, salpingo-oophorectomy, metoidioplasty, phalloplasty, urethroplasty, scrotoplasty, and placement of testicular and erectile prosthesis.

For male-to-female surgery: penectomy, orchidectomy, vaginoplasty, clitoroplasty, and labiaplasty."

However, those planning a gender switch should be very sure before they proceed — the brochure stresses that reversal of transgender surgery is not covered.

Kerry said at a "pride event" of the GLIFAA (formerly Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies but now, to include the transgendered, known simply by its initials) in
June that he was "proud" that the exclusionary language has been removed "so that employees who have undergone a gender transition can get the healthcare that they need."

"And that’s what it means to fight and that’s what it means to win in a battle that we all know matters enormously, not as a matter of making these things a privilege, but to make sure that they are, in fact, a right."

Selim Ariturk, GLIFAA president, thanked the Office of Personnel Management and AFSPA for "doing the right thing, and ending this discrimination. All our colleagues deserve equal access to quality healthcare."

One of GLIFAA's missions has been "ending the so-called 'transgender exclusion,' which denies insurance for medically recommended treatment of transgender colleagues."

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The State Department has dropped its transgender exclusion policy and is urging insurance companies which cover the department's employees to pay for transgender procedures.
State Department, transgender, insurance, policy
Monday, 13 October 2014 02:04 PM
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