Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager
This June, the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it would remove the provision requiring Federal Employment Health Benefits (FEHB) providers to exclude transition-related care for transgender federal employees, citing the “evolving professional consensus that treatment is considered medically necessary” for transgender people.
Yesterday, OPM announced that the open enrollment season for these benefits will begin on November 8, marking the first time that participating insurance providers have the option to offer federal employees coverage for transition-related care. This announcement is a crucial step towards ensuring that medically necessary healthcare is available to every federal worker, regardless of gender identity. The question remains as to how many of those providers will opt to extend this coverage.
As Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Health and Aging Program Associate Director Tari Hanneman explains, “This is a critical moment for insurance companies to decide whether they will do right by transgender Americans. Transition-related care can be prohibitively expensive without insurance coverage, and for many transgender people, medical transition is essential to the process of living openly as their authentic selves.”
HRC encourages all insurance companies to provide transgender-inclusive healthcare.
“Ultimately, this is simply an issue of providing equal access to medically necessary care for everyone,” said Hanneman.