The New York Daily News recently ran a story on Beth Scott, a trans woman who was denied coverage by her health insurer for a mammogram. It's a short article, but the paper does a good job identifying the hurdles trans people face when seeking care and the lengths to which insurers will reach trying to deny us coverage.
Aetna, Scott's health insurance carrier, stated that the procedure fell under her policy's exclusion for treatments "related to changing sex."
After exhausting her appeals process, she enlisted the help of the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund for help in her reimbursement.
Scott, who eventually won the fight and received an apology from Aetna, is just the latest person to struggle against the institutional medical discrimination that transgender people face.
Due to exclusionary clauses in certain insurance plans, not only are people denied coverage for the medical procedures needed to undergo the gender change, they are denied ordinary care.
These clauses make it impossible to receive coverage for any procedure that could conceivably be linked to their transgender status.
"I've heard of transgendered people being denied coverage for blood tests," said Noah Lewis, a lawyer for the TLDEF in New York. "I heard a story about a transgender woman who was denied coverage for a broken arm after the insurance company determines the injury occurred while playing on a all-female baseball team."
Congratulations to Beth Scott and the TLDEF. Cases like this make up the small footsteps we must take on the path to equal treatment.
(Health insurance claim form via BigStock)