Insurance Commissioner Kreidler sends letter to insurers reminding them of the state’s laws
Gender identity is often a controversial issue, especially when it comes to insurance coverage and health care. In Washington, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is looking to dispel some confusion surrounding this issue. The commissioner has sent a letter to the state’s health insurance companies, reminding these companies that there are laws in place that bar discrimination based on a person’s particular gender identity. In some cases, insurers have run afoul of these laws, denying coverage to some people based on their gender identity.
Gender identity is often a controversial subject when it comes to insurance coverage
Insurance companies are not required by state or federal laws to offer coverage for sexual reassignment surgery, but they are compelled to provide transgender individuals with the same access to insurance coverage that is offered to others. Coverage for hormone therapy and breast reconstruction has become a particularly problematic issue, with some insurers suggesting that they should not be forced to offer coverage for such medical treatments. Commissioner Kreidler notes in his letter that insurers must provide coverage for these treatments to transgender individuals if they also offer coverage for such treatments to others.
Medicare program lifts coverage ban on sexual reassignment surgery
In his letter to insurers, Kreidler highlights the fact that many of the state’s employers have been taking steps to prevent discrimination against transgender employees. These companies are making changes to the health insurance plans they offer and the insurers that they associate with, favoring insurers that do not discriminate based on gender identity. The state’s Medicare program has also lifted its ban on providing coverage for sexual reassignment surgeries and their associated treatments.
State regulators are examining insurance policies to ensure they are not discriminatory in nature
The Washington Department of Insurance is currently reviewing all policies that will be sold by insurance companies in 2015 in order to ensure that they comply with state and federal regulations. Policies that are found to be in violation of the state’s regulations are likely to be barred from the state’s market. Policies that will be sold through the state’s insurance exchange are also under review.