New York issues guidance for private insurance companies to cover transgender-related healthcare

New York State is issuing guidance to insurance companies, requiring them to end discriminatory exclusions on covering transgender-related healthcare. Through a letter being sent to insurance companies, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration notes that transgender people are entitled to coverage for medically necessary care related to the treatment of gender dysphoria by insurance companies that offer coverage for "mental health conditions."

The announcement makes New York the ninth state to require this coverage, following California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, and Washington, D.C. New York's superintendent of financial services, Benjamin M. Lawsky, told the New York Times that he would "be very surprised" if this change raised insurance premiums, because of the relatively small size of the transgender population.

"This is an important step toward ensuring that transgender New Yorkers have access to the healthcare they need," said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "We look forward to the day when all transgender people in our state can obtain the same healthcare coverage as their peers."

While the letter requires an end to exclusions in some insurance policies, the state regulation banning Medicaid coverage for transgender-related healthcare remains at this time. A class action lawsuit filed against the New York Department of Health by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the Legal Aid Society, and Willkie Farr and Gallagher is currently pending.