How to pay for health care when you’re trans

Pacific Standard
|
July 22, 2013
Issues: 

Emily Pittman Newberry fought Kaiser Permanente—and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—for three years to get assistance paying for gender confirming surgery, then started an Indiegogo campaign instead. tash shatz came out as transgender in high school, dipping into a college savings fund to pay for transitioning care and deferring higher education for a few years. When Janis Booth realized she was transgender, she took matters into her own hands. A former registered nurse, she was in a good position to do so.

“Ironically, I was the first male nurse at [my nursing school]—or so they think. I was the first male to graduate, the first male to work at that hospital—or so they think,” Booth, 63, now a programmer for WebMD, says wryly.

At 60, Booth began to buy and self-administer hormones online—though she asked a doctor she’d known for years to monitor her blood to make sure her estrogen levels were safe—for about a year before getting a letter from a therapist enabling her to seek a hormone prescription from an endocrinologist. Her insurer covered the hormone prescription, but no other aspect of transgender care.