Prairie State Wire

Prairie State Wire

Saturday, December 7, 2019

ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE: Illinois Joins State Insurance Departments Opposing Trump Administration Attacks on Health Care for Transgender Americans


By Press release submission | Aug 7, 2019


Illinois Department of Insurance issued the following announcement on Aug. 6.

Illinois Department of Insurance Director Robert Muriel joined 17 Commissioners representing tens of millions of American insurance consumers in a letter just sent to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, urging him to protect rules that address unfair treatment of transgender consumers. The letter states that changes proposed by the Trump Administration will undermine civil rights protections for millions of consumers, create an uneven playing field for health insurers and negatively affect state insurance markets.

The proposed changes affect Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits sex discrimination in health insurance and clarifies protections for transgender Americans from being denied lifesaving, medically necessary care. On May 24, 2019 the Trump Administration proposed regulations that seek to roll back protections that ensure equal protection from discrimination by insurers and providers.

"Illinois is committed to protecting consumers and fostering an inclusive insurance marketplace.  No one should be discriminated against, especially when it comes to access to healthcare," said Director Muriel. 

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 23% of transgender people avoided going to the doctor when sick or injured out of fear of discrimination in the past year and 33% of transgender people who did see a health care provider in the past year were harassed, denied care, or even assaulted.

The signatories of this letter explain that this proposed rule attempts to give health insurers and providers license to discriminate against transgender policyholders and will have a significant negative impact on a community that is already vulnerable to discrimination in health care, housing and employment.

The letter states in part: "We are committed to prohibiting discrimination in our states and are deeply concerned about the proposed rule's impact on the companies we regulate and consumers nationwide. For these reasons, we urge you to abandon the proposed rule's changes regarding the unfair treatment of transgender consumers. In its current form, the proposed rule would undermine the civil rights protections for millions of consumers, generate confusion, and negatively affect state insurance markets."

The seventeen states and the District of Columbia have determined that discriminatory policies targeting transgender Americans violate state laws and have issued directives and regulations ordering insurance carriers to halt this harmful practice.  The Affordable Care Act and its existing rules expanded this protection across the country, ensuring equal protection under the law. The ACA clarified insurers' responsibility to ensure that transgender policyholders can access the same health insurance and care as every other insured American. This includes health care related to gender transition, which is recognized by the medical community as medically effective and necessary for many individuals, as well as routine tests and treatments that have sometimes been denied to transgender individuals based on their association with a specific gender.

Media Notes:

Signatory states:

• California

• Colorado

• Connecticut

• Delaware

• D.C.

• Illinois

• Michigan

• Minnesota

• Nevada

• New Jersey

• New Mexico

• New York

• Oregon

• Pennsylvania

• Rhode Island

• Vermont

• Washington

• Wisconsin

Original source can be found here.

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