The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a planned new regulation Thursday that will require health insurers participating in Obamacare to cover more health procedures sought by the transgendered.
The new rule applies to every health insurer offering plans through Healthcare.gov or any of the state-run Obamacare insurance exchanges. It declares that insurers are prohibited from engaging in discrimination not only on the basis of sex, but also on the basis of gender identity.
In the past, several health insurance plans have categorically excluded health care related to transitioning between genders, often on the grounds that such procedures are often cosmetic, not medically necessary, and elective in nature. Now, such categorical bans will be disallowed, and insurers will have to cover many of the procedures.
HHS says the new rule won’t require insurers to cover all hormone treatments or sex reassignment surgeries, but it will almost certainly require them to cover a large number of them.