Just in time for LGBT Pride Month: The Department of Health and Human Services has lifted the national policy barring Medicare from paying for gender-confirming surgery. Decisions will still be left up to regional administrators, but claims will be subject to individualized review and will no longer be automatically rejected for gender-related procedures, just like any other medical procedure. The blanket exclusion will be fully lifted by June 30.
[The ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders] brought the challenge to Medicare’s trans-exclusive policy on behalf of transgender woman and Army veteran Denee Mallon. “This decision means so much to me and many other transgender people,” the 74-year-old Mallon said in a statement today. “I am relieved to know that my doctor and I can now address my medical needs, just as other patients and doctors do.”
The change puts national Medicare policy in line with laws in California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, and the District of Columbia requiring that private insurance providers provide coverage for medically necessary gender transition-related treatment, including surgery.