State Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart on Wednesday released the bulletin that announced the new policy. It prohibits “the denial, cancellation, termination, limitation, refusal to issue or renew, or restriction, of insurance coverage or benefits thereunder because of a person’s gender identity or transgender status, or because the person is undergoing gender transition.”
“All Delawareans should have access to quality health care, regardless of their gender identity,” said Stewart in a press release on the state’s website. “The Insurance Department will be vigilant in making sure all insurers comply with the law.”
Stewart announced the new regulation nearly three years after Gov. Jack Markell signed a law that bans discrimination in Delaware based on gender identity and expression.
“Equality Delaware applauds this life-saving action by the Delaware Department of Insurance,” said Lisa Goodman, president of Equality Delaware, a statewide LGBT advocacy group, in a statement. “Excluding coverage for medically necessary care for transgender individuals remains one of the most frequent examples of anti-LGBT discrimination.”
“This bulletin builds on the progress Delaware made three years ago with the adoption of fully inclusive nondiscrimination protections and makes clear that discrimination against transgender people has no place in Delaware’s insurance market,” added Goodman.
Sarah McBride, a member of the Equality Delaware board of directors who played a critical role in securing passage of the state’s trans rights law, agreed.
“With this bulletin, Delaware ensures that transgender people will be treated the same as other consumers and continues our state’s role as a national leader on transgender equality,” said McBride, who is trans.
The Maryland Insurance Administration issued a bulletin last month that said insurance plans sold in the state must cover trans-specific care. Then-D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray in 2014 announced health insurance companies doing business in the nation’s capital must provide full coverage of sex-reassignment surgery and other treatments that allow trans people to change their gender.