HARTFORD, Conn. — More health insurance carriers such as Aetna, which provides coverage to federal workers, are providing for gender reassignment surgeries in their 2015 health plans, the Hartford Courant reports.
In the past, the federal government excluded the cost of services, drugs and supplies related to such procedures. That exclusion was removed in June, allowing health insurers to offer plans that help trans folks who wish to have surgery do so.
“There is an evolving professional consensus that treatment is considered medically necessary for certain individuals who meet established … criteria for a diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder/Gender Dysphoria,” John O’Brien, director of Healthcare and Insurance at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, wrote in a June 13 bulletin to health insurers, the Courant reports.
O’Brien’s advisory was sent to health insurers that sell policies on the Federal Employee Health Program, a sort of insurance exchange serving nearly 9 million federal employees, retirees and family members. Coverage for federal employees is largely funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars, though employees also pay a portion of premiums.
Health insurers have two options under the new federal guidelines: They can continue to exclude coverage of gender reassignment surgery, or they can include it. Aetna announced last week that it has decided to include it in all 33 health plans it offers to federal employees, the Courant reports.