Kaiser Insurance To Cover Breast Augmentation Surgeries For Transgender Persons

Grace Carr | Reporter

Washington state’s Kaiser Permanente health insurance will now cover breast augmentation services and reconstructive chest surgeries for biological males transitioning to females.

The move comes after insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler began an investigation into the insurance company following allegations by a number of patrons that the insurance company refused to provide them care, reported KomoNews Wednesday.

“People who are transgender should not be barred from medical treatments because of their gender identity,” Kreidler said. He also applauded the company for “ultimately [doing] the right thing to ensure they are treating their transgender enrollees fairly.”

Kaiser Permanente of Washington already covers reconstructive surgery for women who’ve had mastectomies as well as chest reconstruction surgeries for biological females transitioning to the male sex.

Following its move to expand coverage, the company will review any requests by transgender persons that it denied since January 2016. Assessments of those cases will conclude by Oct. 28, KomoNews reported.

Ohio’s biggest health care company for transgender persons, Equitas Health, also announced in July that it would expand coverage for its employees with gender dysphoria to include a slew of cosmetic procedures, Prizm News reported. Breast augmentation, facial feminization, brow lifts, cheek augmentation, rhinoplasty, face lifts and liposuction are included in the list of services the company will cover for its employees along with a number of other cosmetic procedures. The coverage for these services began Wednesday. (RELATED: Ireland Might Drop Psychiatric Requirements For Transgender Individuals Seeking Hormone Therapy)

Starbucks also changed its policies in June to give benefits to employees who identify as transgender, including coverage for cosmetic procedures that will help employees look more like the gender their transitioning to. The coffee company already offered health insurance plans covering gender reassignment surgery — a policy implemented in 2012 — but expanded those benefits to include breast reduction or augmentation surgeries, facial feminization procedures and hair transplants among other procedures, MarketWatch reported.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced June 19 that it won’t classify gender dysphoria as a mental disorder in its upcoming 11th edition of its International Classification of Diseases.

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