Gender affirming health care provides medically necessary treatments supporting patient's gender identity
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner's news release reports that insurers in Washington state must cover gender-affirming care under Senate Bill 5313 that was passed into law as The Gender Affirming Treatment Act that took effect on January 1, 2022. The changes in law are to preserve lifesaving medical care.
Health insurers cannot deny or limit coverage for gender-affirming treatment that is medically necessary, prescribed, and is to protect a person's gender identity.
The insurance commissioner site has established that there are differences in a person's gender identities beyond traditional male and female sex's of babies.
His news release refers as these people as being "cisgender" that is described as "Identifying as having a gender that corresponds to the sex one has been assigned at birth; not transgender" (Wordnik) that is described as being different from a person's "gender identity" that is described as "A person's inner sense of being male or female, usually developed during early childhood as a result of parental rearing practices and societal influences and strengthened during puberty by hormonal changes" (dictionary.com).
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is noted as protecting "the rights of transgender and gender-diverse people" and their ability to access health care. Making sure patients get the hormone treatments to coincide with their gender-identity is protected.
Treatment under the new law includes prescribed medical treatment of any condition that relates to a person's gender identity.
His news release states;
"For example, insurers may not deny gender-affirming hormone treatments because they are prescribed at different levels than they are for cisgender patients whose gender identity corresponds with their sex assigned at birth".
A more detailed explanation of what "gender-affirming" medical treatment is may be found listed in the text of the bill to include;
"Cosmetic services facial feminization surgeries and facial gender affirming treatment, such as tracheal shaves, hair electrolysis, and other care such as mastectomies, breast reductions, and breast implants, or any combination of gender affirming procedures, including revisions to prior treatment."
Medical insurer's including Medicaid programs must comply with The Gender Affirming Treatment Act.
In Washington state, minors may give their consent for gender-affirming treatments in some situations.
According to The Center Square, Brett Davis reported that at the urging of The American Medical Association (AMA), there are no age restrictions to gender-affirming medical treatment.
After contacting the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Davis received an email that, "Generally, the age of consent for medical treatment is 18, but there are laws in Washington state that allow minors to consent to treatment in certain situations.”
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