WINDY CITY TIMES
||City insurance to cover transgender-related health services
by Matt Simonette
This article shared 2521 times since Mon Aug 10, 2015
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, on Aug. 5, announced that the city of Chicago will remove the exclusion of gender reassignment services from city health care benefits. Under the new rule, the insurance plans of city employees will cover such procedures.
According to a release, the change will be implemented for all non-union employees; the city is also working with labor partners to also remove the exclusion for union members. The change takes effect Oct. 1.
"Chicago is known for being a city that is welcoming to all and inclusive of every resident, and this new policy is in line with our efforts to support the rights and well-being of transgender individuals," said Emanuel. "With this change, Chicago will ensure that transgender city employees are able to receive the medical care that they need."
Brenda Johnson, a spokesperson for Chicago Gender Society, lauded the announcement.
"We were of course very pleased," said Johnson. "Corporate America has led the charge on thisthe majority of large corporations have insurance that has these procedures included. We think it's wonderful that Mayor Emanuel has pursued this."
Dr. Magda Houlberg, chief medical officer at Howard Brown Health Center, said the decision "sets an example for other government agenciesit's very forward thinking. In the past three years, we've seen an increasing number of people come to Howard Brown for these types of services."
She added that not all transgender individuals choose to pursue surgery; some only pursue hormone treatments, for example. "A lot of patients have different goals."
According to Emanuel's statement, the issue was brought to the city's attention by American Civil Liberties Union Illinois.
"We commend the City of Chicago for recognizing that no one should be denied insurance coverage because of who they are," said John Knight, LGBT & HIV project director for ACLU Illinois. "More and more cities, states, private employers and the federal government have gotten rid of these outdated policy exclusions that make no sense, from either a medical or an economic standpoint. It's wonderful news that Chicago employees will now have access to the gender affirming care they need."
This article shared 2521 times since Mon Aug 10, 2015
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