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State Employee Files Complaint Because Gender Reassignment Surgery is not Covered by Insurance

A state employee has filed a discrimination complaint because coverage for a gender confirmation surgery was denied.

The ACLU of Wisconsin filed a discrimination complaint today with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of Dr. Shannon Andrews, a cancer researcher at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, against the Medical School, the Group Insurance Board, and WPS Insurance.

The state’s employee health plans specifically exclude coverage of “procedures, services, and supplies related to surgery and sex hormones associated with gender reassignment.”

The ACLU argues this policy denies these individuals equal coverage of medically necessary treatment because of their sex, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

“Notwithstanding the medical community’s agreement about the medical necessity of treatment for some transgender individuals, many employers continue to offer health insurance coverage that specifically targets transgender people and denies them coverage for life-saving medical care,” said ACLU of Wisconsin Legal Director Larry Dupuis. “These exclusions arbitrarily target transgender people for discrimination by forcing them to pay out-of-pocket for medically necessary services.”

 “Many people can relate to paying into an insurance plan only to be told that the treatment they need is not covered. But when the reason you are denied coverage is because of who you are, it is even more painful,” said said Dr. Andrews.  

Dr. Andrews is represented by Dupuis and John A. Knight of the ACLU’s national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV Project.

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