Colorado Now Has Critical Health Benefits for Trans People


DENVER – Colorado has become the first state in the country to include transitional care for transgender people as part of essential health care requirements in the state, the Biden administration said on Tuesday.

As part of this change, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services approved the state’s request to provide gender-based care in individual and small-group health insurance markets as part of the Essential Health benchmark. Colorado Benefit.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement the change was in line with the Biden administration’s goal of removing barriers faced by transgender people in accessing health care. , including transition coverage.

“Health care should be available to everyone; by ensuring that transgender people can access recommended care, we are taking this one step further to achieve this, ”said Becerra. “I am proud to support Colorado in breaking down the barriers that have historically made it difficult for trans people to access health coverage and medical care.”

Colorado’s plan, according to the HHS, will require insurers to cover a wider range of services for transgender people in addition to the benefits already covered, such as eye and eyelid modifications, facial tightening, skin reshaping. facial bones for facial feminization, breast and chest construction and reduction, and laser hair removal.

In addition to these changes, Colorado is also adding EHBs to the baseline to include mental wellness exams and expanded coverage for 14 classes of prescription drugs, according to the HHS. These changes, according to the HHS, will take effect on January 1, 2023.

CMS administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said in a statement that health care should be “accessible, affordable and provided equitably to everyone, regardless of your sexual orientation,” although Brooks-LaSure failed to comment. mention gender identity.

“To truly remove barriers to care, we need to expand access to all health care, including gender-affirming surgery and other treatments, for people who depend on Medicare, Medicaid & coverage. CHIP and Marketplaces, ”Brooks-LaSure mentioned. “Colorado’s expansion of their essential health benefits to include gender-affirming surgery and other treatments is a model for other states to follow and we invite other states to follow suit.”

According to Washington Post, the administration approved the change before officials announced it in Denver on Tuesday at an event with Colorado Governor Jared Polis, the first openly gay man to be elected governor of the United States.

Katie Keith, lawyer and co-founder of Out2Enroll, is quoted in the Washington Post as saying that despite the change, significant issues remain for transgender people in healthcare.

“There has been significant progress, but we’ve seen exclusions by some health plans – it got worse under the Trump administration – and that’s why it’s important to see states like Colorado step up efforts to make up these shortcomings, ”Keith said.

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