Gov. Cuomo: Insurance must cover gender reassignment surgery

Isis King

By Bloomberg.com

Governor Andrew Cuomo is warning insurers that they can’t deny treatment for transgender New Yorkers.

In a letter sent today, the Department of Financial Services said insurance companies must cover gender-reassignment surgery, hormone therapy and other treatments associated with changing a person’s gender if a doctor has determined the procedures are medically necessary. It says gender dysphoria — a condition when a person’s gender at birth is different than the one they identify with — should be treated like any other psychological disorder.

“Respecting the rights and dignity of all New Yorkers is paramount,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We are ensuring that principle rightfully extends to transgender people across our state.”

Cuomo, a 57-year-old Democrat who won a second-term in November, pushed through a measure legalizing same-sex marriage in 2011 and has sought to retain support among New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The letter said insurance companies still have the ability to review treatment for gender dysphoria, as they do with any other covered health benefit. The review must comply with the state law on the right to appeal a ruling.

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