OPM Announces FEHB Healthcare Plans Cannot Have Blanket Exclusions on Transition-Related Care

by Stephen Peters

WASHINGTON – Today, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that Federal Health Benefit Plan (FEHB) providers will no longer be permitted to have blanket exclusions on all transition-related services in their federal employee healthcare plans. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, praised the news as a victory for transgender federal employees.

“This critical change is a significant step forward in the right direction – one that will help our nation’s transgender civil servants gain access to many of the basic and vitally important healthcare services that they need,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “HRC applauds OPM Director Katherine Archuleta for her strong leadership on this important issue.”

In June of 2014, after working closely with HRC and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), OPM announced that it would lift its own ban on transition-related services, which resulted in only three FEHB providers offering transition-related coverage. Today’s change will be effective Jan. 1, 2016, and impacts plans that federal employees can select during open season this fall.

HRC has long been working with transgender advocates to urge OPM to require FEHB carriers to provide comprehensive health care coverage to transgender workers. HRC has also been a leader in working with insurance providers on access to transition related care as essential benefits under healthcare plans. HRC has worked with hundreds of major private sector employers through the Corporate Equality Index to eliminate such exclusions and implement transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage, further establishing a norm, that LGBT-inclusive coverage means transition-related care and coverage for all types of major employers.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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