Simply because they are transgender, many people are denied coverage for basic care, including preventive screenings and treatments that insurance companies often cover for non-transgender people. Basic Rights Oregon has collected many stories from transgender Oregonians, experts, and doctors to illustrate the impact that these unfair exclusions have on our friends, family and community. These stories and words are most important testimonies as to the need for removing unfair exclusions from insurance policies…now.
We would like to introduce you to Sasha, Natalie, Emily and Derrick, who are just a few of the transgender Oregonians facing real life barriers to health care. In 2011, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality conducted the groundbreaking National Trans Discrimination Survey across the U.S. and found that 22% of trans Oregonians reported denial of health care, just because they are transgender (NTDS, 2011). In addition to Sasha, Natalie, Emily, and Derrick’s stories, Dr. Leigh Dolan offers his expert opinion as former President of the Oregon Medical Association, speaking directly to the importance of health care for transgender people. And Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler shares his experience as Multnomah County Chair, highlighting the cost effectiveness of removing discriminatory exclusions from health plans.
Healthcare is only one of the barriers transgender people face. In addition to lacking access to basic health care, 90% of transgender people nationally have been harassed due to their gender at work and 47% have experienced adverse consequences such as being fired. Because many transgender face unemployment, they also are more likely to live in extreme poverty and one out of every four transgender people earn less than $10,000 per year. A lack of money often leads to a lack of housing, with 1/5 of transgender people being homeless at one point. Even for transgender people with the means for housing, 19% were turned away just because of their gender identity. All three of these things- employment, housing, and health care- inextricably linked. (NTDS, 2011).
Basic Rights Oregon is working hard to make sure that all transgender Oregonians experience equality. We are working to remove health care exclusions from public insurance, such as Oregon Health Plan, as well as continuing to work with the state’s Division of Consumer and Business Services Insurance Division to ensure that private insurance companies treat transgender people fairly in their policies.
Dr. Dolin’s Story
Ted Wheeler’s Story