For Immediate Release - June 20, 2014

Patrick Administration Announces Steps to Ensure Equity in Health Care Coverage for Gender Dysphoria

BOSTON — The Patrick Administration today announced reforms to health care insurance coverage to ensure that Massachusetts residents who need transgender related services have full access to the health care treatments they need. Through MassHealth, the Massachusetts Medicaid program, and the Division of Insurance (DOI), these reforms will further enhance health care access for Massachusetts residents.

In the coming weeks, MassHealth will publish proposed regulations for public comment to extend health care coverage to provide medically necessary treatment for gender identity or gender dysphoria including hormone therapy and gender-reassignment surgery.

“Thanks to the Patrick Administration, MassHealth is once again leading the Commonwealth and the nation in access to health care services,” said MassHealth Director Kristin Thorn. “By amending our regulations, we will now cover both gender-reassignment surgery and hormonal maintenance for Gender Dysphoria.”

Later today, DOI will issue a regulatory guidance to advise that health insurers may not deny services ordinarily available to individuals based on the perceived gender identity of a person when the denial or limitation is due only to the fact that the individual is identified as belonging to the other sex or has undergone, or is in the process of undergoing, gender transition.

“In taking today’s action, Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in providing necessary access to health insurance for all of our citizens,” said Commissioner of Insurance Joseph G. Murphy.

The Administration will also strongly recommend the Group Insurance Commission approve similarly inclusive reforms.

Last week, the federal Department of Health and Human Services through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ended the ban on Medicare coverage for sex-reassignment surgery.

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