For your health

White House proposes ban on healthcare discrimination against transgender people

U.S. President Barack Obama hosts a reception in honor of national Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month in the East Room of the White House June 15, 2012 in Washington, DC.

A new rule proposed by the Obama administration on Friday would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage to transgender people — “the most vulnerable to discrimination,” according to the Health and Human Services Department — based on providers’ own notions of masculinity or femininity. Discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin, age, and disability is currently prohibited, but gender identity is not protected. Insurers already cover hormone treatments and reconstructive surgery, except when they are applied to those going through a gender transition. The new provision would include protections based on gender identity and would not explicitly require providers to cover gender transition treatment, but would call into question those who deny such treatment to a man who identifies as a woman, or vice-versa. “What the rule says is they cannot exclude transgender people from the services that other people have,” Harper Jean Tobin, policy director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the AP. Ten states and Washington D.C. currently require private insurers to cover transgender healthcare.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.

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