The state announced that medical policies must cover gender confirmation care for transgender people.
State officials in Colorado have announced that as of 2023, health insurance coverage in the state must include gender-confirmation care for transgender patients.
The change has received the federal government’s approval, referring to it as a “landmark step.”
The federal government has called this change a “landmark step” in addressing health insurance coverage disparities. The state’s change means that private care plans must cover gender confirmation surgery, hormone therapy, and facial surgery for transgender people.
“This is essential health care and it deserves to be covered,” said the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen. He said these procedures “are actually recognized as primary care.”
This move has made Colorado the first state to require that policies provide coverage for this level of care, said the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Lindsay Dawson. “But other states can certainly follow suit.”
The health insurance coverage mandate means trans Colorado residents won’t need to pay out of pocket.
Right now, trans patients must pay out of pocket for gender confirmation care. This can cost tens of thousands of dollars. This, according to Marvyn Allen of LGBTQ advocacy organization, One Colorado in Denver. Costs this high can require patients to have to evaluate their finances and either made considerable sacrifices or discover that they cannot afford necessary care. As this care has been deemed primary, it is being treated at the same level of importance as other primary medical issues.
Getting trans patients the care they need allows them to move on with their lives and focus on living instead of scrambling to find the money they need for care, explained Allen.
Insurers in the state will be required to make the changes to the health insurance coverage they provide, making gender confirmation care covered in just over a year. This will help more trans residents to be able to obtain the care that they require as a part of what their standard policy covers, instead of wondering how they will be able to pay the full out of pocket costs for every treatment and procedure.