States take action to ban payers from gender identity discrimination

Insurance companies in Hawaii and Pennsylvania may no longer discriminate against transgender people when approving coverage for certain medical procedures.

Insurers in Pennsylvania will now have to cover medically necessary services no matter the person's gender identity, sexual orientation or sex, according to PennLive.com. Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Theresa Miller told the publication that denying coverage for medically necessary covered services on the basis of gender violates federal regulations.

Meanwhile, in Hawaii, both the House and Senate have passed a bill that bans insurance companies from discriminating against transgender patients, according to an article from the Associated Press. The bill will now go to Gov. David Ige. Insurers have a history of denying coverage to transgender people for procedures like mammograms or prostate screenings due to the gender listed on their driver's licenses.   

There has been some push-back from opponents in Hawaii, mostly from those who are concerned with the impact the bill may have on payers. Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott said the bill would mandate insurance coverage of gender-reassignment surgeries, which he said would increase costs for everyone, AP reports. But the bill doesn't mandate coverage of surgeries, it bans discrimination based on gender identity for services already offered by insurance plans, Democratic Rep. Chris Lee responded.

Last month, Delaware passed similar legislation that prohibited private health insurers from excluding or limiting health coverage for transgender people.

To learn more:
- read the AP article
- here is the PennLive.com article

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