New York Insurance Companies Now Required to Cover Gender-Reassignment Surgery

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a press conference on new corruption legislation on April 9, 2013 in New York City.  Cuomo announced the Public Trust Act which would establish a new class of corruption crimes and require officials to report corruption. New York State politicians were arrested in two bribery cases last week.
Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

New York insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny coverage for gender-reassignment surgery, according to a letter sent by Governor Andrew Cuomo to insurers this week. The rule will make New York the ninth state in the country to require insurance companies to cover the cost of treatment for gender dysphoria.

According to the New York Times:

In a letter being sent to insurance companies this week, the governor said that because state law requires insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of psychological disorders, people who are found to have a mismatch between their birth sex and their internal sense of gender are entitled to insurance coverage for treatments related to that condition, called gender dysphoria.

Advocates for transgender issues are hopeful that the new rule will set a precedent for insurance companies nationwide.

This is an absolute sea change in the way that insurance for transgender people will cover their health care needs,” Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, told the Times. “This essentially opens up an entire world of treatment for transgender people that was closed to them previously.”