On Tuesday, the Hawaii Legislature passed a vital bill to protect transgender citizens from discrimination in healthcare coverage. House Bill 2084 prohibits health insurers from denying, excluding or limiting healthcare coverage on the basis of gender identity. The bill now heads to Governor David Ige for approval. If signed into law, it would take effect on January 1, 2017.
The unfortunate reality is that many healthcare plans contain explicitly discriminatory “transgender exclusions” that prohibit coverage for medical care related to gender transition, otherwise known as transition-related health care. Even when healthcare plans do not explicitly contain “transgender exclusions,” coverage of transition-related care is still often denied and falsely perceived by the insurer to be not medically necessary. Transgender people are even denied coverage for many of the procedures routinely provided to people who are not transgender.
These discriminatory exclusions persist despite the fact that the nation’s top professional health associations — including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association — have unequivocally affirmed that transition-related healthcare is medically necessary for the health and well-being of many transgender people.
Prohibiting these discriminatory practices is a matter of basic fairness and equality. Like everyone else, transgender people deserve equal access to essential medically necessary care. Their health and well-being depend on it.
HRC engaged its members across the state and submitted testimony in support of House Bill 2084.
More information on transgender-inclusive health benefits can be found here.
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