Today, the DC Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) issued a bulletin clarifying key protections for transgender people in the District of Columbia. The bulletin provides a clear directive to insurers that discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression is not an acceptable business practice in Washington.
The bulletin prohibits insurance companies from some of the most egregious practices that have been used to lock transgender people out of health care coverage, including:
- Denying, cancelling, limiting, or refusing to renew an insurance policy.
- Limiting insurance coverage on the basis of gender identity or expression.
- Denying coverage for a procedure that is provided for the treatment of other conditions of illness. For example, if a plan covers hormone therapy for some diagnoses, it cannot categorically exclude coverage for hormone therapy related to gender identity disorder or other transition-related diagnosis.
DC joins a growing number of states, municipalities, and employers who recognize that equal access to health coverage is supported by medical science, improves the health of transgender people, and does not significantly increase costs. Ending arbitrary insurance discrimination against transgender people simply supports what expert medical bodies have been saying for years: transition-related health care is medically necessary for many transgender individuals whose health and well-being depends on bringing their physical body into alignment with their gender identity, and determination of what care an individual patient needs properly rests with medical providers, not insurance companies.