Since June 13, 2014, it has been the explicit policy of the U.S. government to discriminate on the basis of gender identity with respect to health insurance.
I have attempted since that date to get the Administration to rectify this discrimination. It has failed to do so.
In a November 24 discussion of Federal benefits, the Office of Personnel Management chose to address the question squarely:
#FedBenefits: How does http://t.co/l36zS7Ogsp say that transition-related care is medically necessary and then allow it to be excluded?
— Emily Esque (@emily_esque) November 24, 2014
Here’s the offending language:
You might notice that the woman called on to respond is reading the June 13 letter that was referenced in my question, which she clearly had at the ready to read, verbatim, as an answer to the question. This is what OPM considers “responsiveness.”
The gentleman hosting that call was Alan P. Spielman, Assistant Director for Federal Employee Insurance Operations in OPM’s Healthcare and Insurance Program Division. Sometime that same day, November 24, 2014, Mr. Spielman signed the response to my FOIA request of July 29, 2014. Again, this is what OPM considers “responsiveness.”
In that FOIA response, OPM provides a complete list of plans that do not discriminate on the basis of gender identity. There are 304 FEHB plans.
That’s 15. 15 plans out of 304, or less than 5%, do NOT discriminate on the basis of Gender Identity.
Under current OPM policy, the other 289 health insurance carriers may continue to exclude care solely because it is a “service, drug, or supply related to sex transformations.” That means that even if a service is covered, if it is related to a “sex transformation” (i.e. transition, described using the most offensive language possible), a carrier may exclude it. Under FEHB regulations, OPM accepts legal responsibility for each of these health insurance plans.
Under Macy v. Holder, such discrimination is illegal. Under Title VII, such discrimination is illegal. Under the President’s Executive Order of July 21, 2014 (EO 13,672) such discrimination is illegal.
The Office of Personnel Management clearly does not care.
Thanks to Amélie E. Koran for compiling information on the total number of plans and their general lack of trans-inclusiveness.