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City of Tacoma Healthcare Plans to Cover Transgender People

City of Tacoma Healthcare Plans to Cover Transgender People
Nov. 18, 2014

Julie Stoltman, Office of Council Member Ryan Mello, julie.stoltman@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5164

City of Tacoma Healthcare Plans to Cover Transgender People

Beginning in 2015, and in line with the City of Tacoma’s Equity and Empowerment Initiative, medical plans for City of Tacoma employees will be amended to include benefits for gender dysphoria. This follows the passage of Resolution 39050 at tonight's City Council meeting, which executes a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Joint Labor Committee.

"Tacomans love our City because of our diversity, our inclusion, and our welcoming attitude,” said City Council Member Ryan Mello. “Tonight, I'm so proud to be part of a City Council that will pass an employee benefit package that includes everyone, including transgender employees and dependents.”

The medical plan coverage for gender dysphoria is consistent with state and federal law.  In June 2014, Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler sent a letter to all health insurers, reminding them that exclusions and denials of coverage on the basis of gender identity do not fall in line with the Washington Law Against Discrimination and the federal Affordable Care Act. 

“We know from national survey data that 45 percent of transgender people have attempted suicide at some point in their life. But this figure can be greatly reduced by ensuring that transgender individuals have access to the same medical care as anyone else – care like mental health, cancer screenings and hormone therapy,” said Seth Kirby, executive director of the Oasis Youth Center and board president for Pride Foundation. “Cities and employers like Tacoma are helping to reduce these numbers by ensuring inclusive healthcare coverage.” 

Current City of Tacoma healthcare plans already include coverage for transgender services, such as hormone replacement. Transgender services are covered as any other services under the plans, and are subject to applicable deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance depending on the provider and type of service received.