Massachusetts on Friday became the third state in the nation to cover transgender medical services, including gender reassignment surgery, as a standard benefit in its government health plan for lower-income and disabled people.
The administration of Governor Deval Patrick also moved to prohibit private insurers from denying coverage for gender reassignment surgery or other treatments medically necessary for patients who are transgender, saying that would constitute sex discrimination.
The Patrick administration will strongly recommend similar reforms to the Group Insurance Commission, which provides coverage for thousands of state and municipal employees and their dependents.
“I am proud to be part of a Commonwealth that puts equality as its top priority,” Patrick said in a statement. “Massachusetts is a leader in health care, where we make the tough decisions for the good of our communities, and where discrimination, of any kind, will not be tolerated.”
Only two other states — California and Vermont — have Medicaid programs guaranteeing treatment for gender dysphoria, a condition in which there is a pronounced difference between patients’ feelings about their gender and their physical sex characteristics, according to Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a Boston-based organization providing legal services for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community.
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