The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), has announced that health plans covering more than 1.3 million current and former California state, local government, and school employees and their family members, will provide equal coverage for medically necessary services provided to transgender members.
The program is the second largest employer purchaser of health insurance after the federal government. CalPERS coverage will now provide transgender people with access to the care they need to live authentic and healthy lives without being singled out for denial of the same services covered for their fellow employees.
This decision is a result of years of education and advocacy by organizations and people including Transgender Law Center and SEIU Local 1000.
California joins Oregon in providing transgender-inclusive health care coverage for state employees. Employer coverage in the state now aligns with the protections implemented previously in the private health insurance market in the state.
The CalPERS coverage policy is the latest in a growing number of decisions by policymakers recognizing that health insurance that discriminates against transgender people by providing unequal benefits does not make sense from a medical, fiscal, or legal perspective.
Transgender-inclusive coverage does not raise costs, is supported by expert medical bodies, and complies with consumer protections and antidiscrimination laws.
Andrew Cray is a Policy Analyst for LGBT Progress at American Progress.