Sex & Gender /

Washington’s Gender-Affirming Care Law Begins Jan. 1

The policy requires health care insurers to pay for gender-affirming treatments

Health insurers in Washington will be required to cover gender-affirming health care starting on Jan. 1.

In February, Senate Bill 5313 said medically necessary gender-affirming treatments must be covered under a provider’s health care plan.

The state senate passed the bill, otherwise known as the Gender Affirming Treatment Act, in a 30-17 vote.

The bill was sponsored by State Senator Marko Liias, who described it as a step toward health equity in the state.

There is still one remaining area of profound discrimination in our health care system, which is the care that our transgender Washingtonians need,” said Liias in a statement. “Gender confirmation treatment is medically necessary for many in our transgender community, but they are not able to access this treatment because it is considered cosmetic by many health plans. The goal is to ensure every Washingtonian has access to medically necessary care that allows them to lead healthy, productive lives.”

“I am proud that our state is sort of standing up to this hysteria sweeping the country of intolerance and hatred of trans people,” Liias told The Columbian in May.

Under the law, insurers cannot apply a blanket exclusion to gender-affirming treatment or label them cosmetic, which is often not covered under health insurance plans. Gender-affirming treatments can include hormone prescriptions, surgeries, puberty delaying medication and talk therapy.

The law also requires that a health care provider with experience in gender-affirming treatment review and confirm the appropriateness of any denial of or limited access to gender-affirming services,” per Just The News.

On Dec. 28, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said via a press release, “Advocates told us over and over again that gender-affirming treatment saves lives. As the insurance regulator, I take seriously my duty to make sure laws and rules around insurance coverage are as inclusive as we intend them to be and insurers aren’t able to issue blanket denials based on inadvertent loopholes in the law.”

Kreidler’s office said the law clarifies several aspects of existing laws that were previously used by insurers to “deny coverage in a way that subverted the intent of the law.”

The commissioner adopted the policy on Nov. 20, 2021.

Sarah Davenport-Smith, a lobbyist for the Family Policy Institute of Washington, expressed her organization’s s concerns about the bill while appearing before the House Health Care and Wellness Committee in March.

“We would really urge the committee to consider an age limit on any gender-affirming treatments,” Davenport-Smith. “There is no age-appropriate way to explain what losing their fertility and full sexual function may mean to them in later years.”

Following a recommendation from the American Medical Association (AMA), the law does not include any age restrictions.

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5 responses to “Washington’s Gender-Affirming Care Law Begins Jan. 1”

  1. HerrDoktor says:

    Spoiler alert: Republicans take over Washington and pass a law defining “Gender confirmation treatment” as “psychiatric treatments intended to confirm the gender with which the patient was born, by mitigating the feelings incurred by gender dysphoria and which dissuade the patient from desiring to mutilate his/her body.”

    Imagine if democrats treated schizophrenia the way they treat gender dysphoria.

  2. BTL10101 says:

    Claims experience will determine the impact long term on insurance. However, I would expect a bump in costs across the board when renewals occur. Depending on impact, some of the less well funded plans may drop their business in the state rather than assume the risk. From the non-business side of the fence, WTF Washington. You have clearly lost your collective mind.

  3. _bensuks says:

    “Transgender” people don’t exist. They’re just severely mentally Ill people who mutilate their bodies. It’s about time we go 1983 Metallica on the pieces of shit

  4. CivilLib says:

    I wonder in what way (if any) this will effect insurance costs in Washington?

    Also sidenote, it seems like insurance companies find ways to get out of paying A LOT of “medically necessary” bills. And I’m sure most reading this would say “yeah, they did it to me”.

  5. nukedaddy777 says:

    A person runs down the middle of the town covered in excrement. A few weep. Many laugh. Others issue idiotic statements about being proud of the poor soul covered in excrement and running headlong to the abyss – and even encourage others including children to do the same.

    “I am proud that our state is sort of standing up to this hysteria sweeping the country of intolerance and hatred of trans people,” Liias told The Columbian in May.
    “Cursed be he that makes the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.”