January 23, 2018 at 10:29 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Va. bill would ban anti-trans health insurance discrimination

transgender, Gender Conference East, trans, transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade

A bill would ban health insurance companies from discriminating against policyholders in Virginia because of their gender identity. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Virginia state Del. Debra Rodman (D-Henrico County) has introduced a bill that would ban health insurance providers from discriminating against transgender policyholders.

House Bill 1466 — which Rodman introduced on Jan. 17 — states insurance companies must “provide coverage under the health benefit plan without discrimination on the basis of gender identity or status as a transgender individual.”

The measure would mandate that insurance companies “shall not deny or limit coverage or impose additional cost sharing or other limitations or restrictions on coverage under a health benefit plan for health care services that are ordinarily or exclusively available to covered individuals of one sex” to a trans person “on the basis of the fact that the individual’s sex assigned at birth, gender identity, or gender otherwise recorded is different from the one to which such health services are ordinarily or exclusively available.” HB 1466 would also prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage of “medically necessary transition-related care.”

“I put forward HB 1466 because I care about the transgender community and know they deserve access to the same medical care I have,” said Rodman in a statement that Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia and Equality Virginia released on Tuesday.

State Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) is HB 1466’s chief co-sponsor. She is the first openly trans person seated in a state legislature in the U.S.

“It means so much to me personally as someone who’s been discriminated against in dealing with health insurance,” said Roem on her Twitter page.

Equality Virginia Executive Director James Parrish in the press release that his organization and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia released said HB 1466 “protects transgender people from being unfairly denied health insurance coverage or from being unfairly excluded from coverage for certain health care procedures on the basis of gender identity.”

“Transgender people deserve the same access to healthcare as everyone else,” he said.

Maryland, Delaware and D.C. are among the jurisdictions that prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against policyholders based on their gender identity.

The Virginia Senate’s General Laws Committee on Monday approved two bills that would ban discrimination against LGBT state employees and in housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

State Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) has introduced a bill that would ban anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, public accommodation, housing, banking, insurance, public contracting and apprenticeships.

The Senate’s Courts of Justice Committee on Jan. 15 killed state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington County)’s bill that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to Virginia’s hate crimes law. The Senate’s Health and Education Committee last week also killed state Sen. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County)’s bill that would have banned so-called conversion therapy to minors in the state.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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