'a very important step'
The federal government on Tuesday approved a requirement for many private health plans sold in Colorado to soon cover "hormone therapy, genital reconstructive services and other procedures sought by transgender patients," reports The Washington Post.
The "groundbreaking decision" from state and federal officials will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023, and marks the "first time the federal government has approved a requirement for transition-related coverage in individual and small-group health plans," writes the Post. Medicaid plans in over a dozen other states, including Colorado, already cover such services.
The Biden administration is hopeful the Colorado decision will "serve as a road map for other states seeking to broaden such coverage," writes the Post, and notes that the change moves to fulfill President Biden's campaign pledge "to expand access to coverage for LGBTQ Americans."
Many private health plans in the state do already tend to cover typical procedures for transgender patients, per advocacy group One Colorado, but officials in Republican-led states like Texas and Arkansas have otherwise moved to try and limit such care, writes the Post.
"Colorado's taking a very important step," said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. "Transgender [people] face discrimination on a constant basis. And it is, to some degree, intensified by the inability for transgender Americans to get the health care services they need."
American Medical Association board member Michael Suk echoed those sentiments in a statement last June, writing, "Gender-affirming care is medically-necessary, evidence-based care that improves the physical and mental health of transgender and gender-diverse people." Read more at The Washington Post.