By Kay Steiger
Monday, August 6, 2012
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) clarified recently that the much-touted rule that says health insurance companies can not discriminate based on sex also extends to trans people.
“This anti-discrimination law, enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, creates an important new tool to combat anti-LGBT and especially anti-transgender discrimination in health care,” said National Center for Transgender Equality (CTE) Executive Director Mara Keisling in a press release.
This clarification determines that section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which “extends federal nondiscrimination protections to the health care system for the first time,” according to an analysis by left-of-center policy and advocacy organization the Center for American Progress.
Any trans person who experiences gender discrimination at a hospital, clinic, doctor’s office or other medical center that accepts federal dollars through Medicare or Medicaid can file a complaint with HHS and “expect to have those complaints taken seriously,” according to the CTE press release.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled this spring that gender identity was covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimination, offering unprecedented protections for trans people under existing employment discrimination law.