Historic news: the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will bring Title VII federal nondiscrimination protections to the health care field. This month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) clarified that the ACA prohibits gender-based discrimination by federally-funded health care providers. Gender-based discrimination includes discrimination based on gender identity and gender stereotypes, which provides critical protections for LGBTQ individuals.
This decision represents an incredible shift in the rights that trans people have in federally-funded health care settings. It is no longer legal for medical providers to refuse to treat patients simply because they are trans or to discriminate against trans people in other ways because of their identity. The law also prohibits insurers from denying or canceling insurance because an individual is transgender or HIV positive. Unfortunately, this does not mean that trans-specific health care, such as hormone therapy or transition-related surgical procedures, will be included in insurance coverage. Basic Rights Oregon will continue our work to win fully trans inclusive health care.
More good news is that the ACA’s Medicaid expansion will extend eligibility to all people under 133 percent of the federal poverty level (approximately $14,000 per year for a single person). The eligibility expansion will increase access to healthcare to transgender individuals, who are four times as likely as the general population to live on less than $10,000 per year.
The ACA will also provide funding for LGBT cultural competency trainings. These trainings will educate health care professionals on how to provide respectful care and create a safe environment for LGBTQ patients. The law provides financial assistance directly to LGBTQ-friendly community health centers and, to better assess the needs of transgender patients, mandates that HHS includes sexual orientation and gender identity in its national data collection efforts starting in 2013.
Read more about the ACA and transgender protections here.
Learn more about transgender health care rights, click here.
And to get involved in Oregon’s work to remove discriminatory exclusions, click here.