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New Law: RI Health Insurers Must Cover Trans Health Care

Published
Health insurers in Rhode Island can no longer limit or deny coverage based on gender identity. That's due to new rules from the state health insurance...

Health insurers in Rhode Island can no longer limit or deny coverage based on gender identity. That's due to new rules from the state health insurance commissioner.

Last week, the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner told insurers they can’t drop someone’s coverage, deny coverage, or refuse to cover medically necessary services for people who identify as transgender. That means insurers have to cover gender reassignment surgery if it’s medically necessary, and other kinds of health care services related to a person’s gender identity.

Rhode Island's Medicaid agency ruled back in November that government insurers could not discriminate against trans patients. Rhode Island’s new rule extends to commercial insurers like UnitedHealth and Tufts. Transgender advocacy groups have praised the new ruling. At the federal level, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are also engaged in clarifying rules around health coverage for transgender patients.

Rhode Island Public Radio reached out to several insurers who were not immediately available for comment.  

Community health clinic Thundermist has established a new practice dedicated to serving trans patients.
Community health clinic Thundermist has established a new practice dedicated to serving trans patients.