The Affordable Care Act (ACA) brought good news to America’s transgender population in 2010. Previously, “gender identity disorder” was often considered a pre-existing condition, and transgender people could be denied coverage on this basis alone. Today, federal law prohibits insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies are also expressly barred from discriminating against transgender people.
Proper health care for transgender individuals can be life-saving. In 2008, the American Medical Association stated that “gender dysphoria” is considered a serious medical condition that can result in “suicidality and death” without appropriate treatment. While the ACA has allowed for greater availability of health insurance coverage for transgender people, not every employer-based health plan includes transgender care. But this landscape is starting to shift.
This year, more employers than ever are providing transgender-inclusive health plans to their employees. Recent studies have shown the extremely low cost of providing this health coverage. With this information at the forefront, businesses are starting to catch on. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s “Corporate Equality Index 2015,” one-third of Fortune 500 businesses now offer transgender-inclusive health care – up from zero in 2002.
Nancy Kelly, director of compensation and benefits at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, told Yahoo News companies can no longer stay competitive if they don’t provide transgender health benefits. When the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta added transgender coverage, Kelly says, “It was not a particular employee request, it was more about diversity and inclusion and being a competitive employer.”