Being a Transgender Person is No Longer a Pre-existing Condition

In a historic moment, President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law last week. The law will allow millions of Americans to be able to afford insurance coverage and to access quality health care. In expanding access to health care, the law addresses one of many social justice issues we encounter today in American society.

Transgender people can be rest assured that insurance companies cannot deny or drop coverage to an individual because that individual is transgender. The health care reform law bans insurance companies from dropping or denying coverage to individuals or their dependents because of their pre-existing conditions. Thus, being a transgender person cannot be denied coverage or dropped by an insurance company because the insurance company considers transgender people to have a pre-existing condition. However, we should note that this portion of the health care reform law will not be enforced until 2014.

Despite this huge victory, we have much more work to do. The prohibition against discriminating based on pre-existing conditions does not force private insurance companies and public insurance (ex. Medicaid, Medicare, Tri-Care) to cover transition-related care. Private insurance companies and public insurers still have discriminatory exclusions against transition-related care because of old stereotypes against transgender people and fear of increased costs. However, the American Medical Association and World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) both state  hat transgender people should be allowed to access transition-related care to improve their lives and sense of well-being. Exclusions against transition-related care mean that transgender people must incur significant financial expenses in order to transition.

The health care reform law will allow more transgender people to afford insurance coverage and access healthcare. It will also prevent insurance companies from labeling transgender people as having pre-existing conditions. We must savor this victory and recognize that advocacy on behalf of the transgender community cannot rest until we achieve full equality.

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6 Responses to Being a Transgender Person is No Longer a Pre-existing Condition

  1. krystal etsitty says:

    yes this is a great thing for us , jut hope some day they will include SRS as a coverage this would be a giant step for most of us

  2. Zoe Brain says:

    Standard exclusions include sex reassignment *and any consequent condition* and also any consequent condition from failing to obtain recommended medical treatment in a timely manner.

    This has, in the past, led to trans people being denied coverage for broken legs due to car crashes. Because the hormones *may* have weakened their bones. And being denied treatment if pre-op for things like urological problems, because they didn’t get SRS when that is the medically recommended therapy.

    They’ll still allow you to pay in to the scheme though. Just don’t expect any payout without a long an costly legal battle, one whose monetary cost far outstrips any benefits.

  3. [...] Read more at NCTE’s web site news, “Health Care Reform and it’s Impact on Transgender People” and another post at the NCTE blog, “Being a Transgender Person is no Longer a Pre-Existing Condition“ [...]

  4. SerjDessi says:

    That’s a really good question and I’ve actually wondered the same. Curious to see what some other people have to say first.

  5. [...] based on a pre-existing condition. Some companies have considered their transgender identity a pre-existing condition worth denying them general [...]

  6. [...] with Obamacare in place and with reinforcement from HHS this kind of prejudice should, hopefully, be ending fairly [...]

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