D.C. announces comprehensive health care plans for transgender citizens

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray on Feb. 27 announced that public and private health insurance plans regulated by the D.C. government are required to cover transition-related care.

Local activists, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Center for American Progress and D.C. officials worked on the initiative.

“This victory reaffirms growing agreement among advocates and the medical community that D.C.’s health care nondiscrimination laws require that insurance cover medically necessary transgender health care,” said Andy Bowen, NCTE policy associate.

Andrew Cray of CAP's LGBT Research and Communications Project added, "This policy will make D.C.’s health care programs and insurance coverage the most comprehensive in the country for the full scope of health care that transgender people need throughout their lives. But more importantly, this announcement tells transgender people in the district that their health matters.”

D.C.’s Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking released an advisory on Feb. 27 that said it will view “attempts by companies to limit or deny medically necessary treatments for gender dysphoria, including gender reassignment surgeries, to be discriminatory.”

DISB also stated, “It is the position of the Department that treatment for gender dysphoria, including gender reassignment surgeries, is a covered benefit…”

Gray, in a news conference, said D.C. Medicaid and government employee plans will conform to DISB’s explanation of D.C. law.

“The insurance bulletin means so much to transgender people,” said Mara Keisling, NCTE’s executive director. “It means health care is affordable and means we can access that care without delay or limitation. Here in the nation’s capital, transgender people won’t be forced to choose between paying the bills or paying for health care.”

Other partners in the campaign included the D.C. Trans Coalition, Casa Ruby, Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, Whitman Walker Health and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club.

The announcement follows similar policies in California, Oregon, Vermont, Colorado and Connecticut.