- The Washington Times - Monday, December 30, 2013

Any health insurer providing coverage in Connecticut will now have to include sex-change surgery and hormone therapy in their plans, as ordered by the state insurance department.

The Hartford Courant reported that the state agency sent out a notice to insurance companies, ordering that “individuals with gender dysphoria … are not denied access to medically necessary care because of the individuals’ gender identity or gender expression.”

Now state officials are advancing on that notice with active campaigns.

Deputy insurance commissioner Anne Melissa Dowling told the Courant that the state wanted to  “go out and affirmatively make [the policy] very clear.”

“As we were turning the corner into the new year, we just wanted to make sure very constituency was clearly heard,” she said.

The state combined two laws to justify the change in coverage mandate — one that bans discrimination based on gender, and another requiring insurers to pay for mental health disorders. The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders now lists gender identity difficulties as a mental disorder, the Courant reported.

Members of the gay community are cheering the new mandate.

“In some cases, transgender individuals would try to get coverage for this treatment and be categorically denied … which led to people paying out of pocket or forgoing their treatment altogether,” Zack Paakkonen, an attorney with the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), told the Courant.

Insurance companies have 90 days to comply. Connecticut now joints California, Colorado, Vermont, Oregon and Washington, D.C., in requiring insurance companies to provide the benefit.