Trans Insurance Discrimination in DC Illegal Thanks to Community-Government Action

The DC Department of Insurance, Securities, and Banking (DISB) released a bulletin yesterday, noting:

No person shall refuse to insure, refuse to continue to insurer [sic], or limit the amount of coverage available to an individual because of marital status, race, color, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity of expression, matriculation, political affiliation, or an individual’s status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, sexual assault, dating violence, or stalking.

This is a remarkable victory for the transgender community. Earlier in 2013, several community groups in DC–including the DC Trans Coalition–sent a letter to the DC Health Benefits Exchange asking that plans offered via the forthcoming health insurance exchanges not include transgender exclusions, which are clauses in health insurance policies limiting equal coverage to transgender people. This effort was a major factor in spurring this DISB bulletin.The bulletin states that discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression has no place in DC. In doing so, the bulletin clarifies existing law so that insurers understand their responsibility to offer coverage that does not discriminate against transgender consumers.

It is important to note that this bulletin does not require insurers to offer new benefits. Rather, it ensures that insurers provide full benefits coverage without discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. In other words, our community has a lot of work to do to increase coverage, especially with people using DC’s public plans: Medicaid and DC Alliance.

Nevertheless, the DISB bulletin is a direct result of concerted community action, and all of the organizations that signed onto the aforementioned letter should feel very proud of their accomplishment: Casa Ruby, DC Area Transmasculine Society, DC Center for the LGBT Community, Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club, National Association of Social Workers Metro DC Chapter, Venus Plus X, Whitman-Walker Health, Center for American Progress, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

And a special thanks goes out to the Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs, which–hearing the community’s concerns–took quick and decisive action in advocating for this bulletin.

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