Georgia: gender reassignment treatments supported by the state
Georgia: Gender re-assignment
Following a lawsuit, the state of Georgia will begin paying for gender reassignment treatment for state employees, public school teachers and former employees covered by a state health insurance plan. the state.
The appeal, initiated in December, argued that “the insurance plan practiced illegal discrimination by refusing to cover care related to the affirmation of sexual identity”. After the agreement was reached, they requested the cancellation of their complaint last Thursday.
The state will also pay a total of $365,000 to the plaintiffs as part of the settlement. Micha Rich, Benjamin Johnson and an anonymous state employee suing on behalf of her adult child all said they “spent money that should have been covered by insurance” to have mastectomies performed.
Circumvent state law?
Since July 1, Georgia has banned minors from starting gender reassignment hormone therapy. It also bans “most gender transition surgeries” for those under 18. This law is being challenged in court, but it is still in effect
According to David Brown, lawyer for the plaintiffs, the agreement reached Thursday requires the health insurance plan to cover “care deemed medically necessary” for spouses and dependents, as well as for employees. This means the state “may be required to pay” for treatment for minors outside the state, even though it is prohibited in Georgia.
The multiplication of legal battles
This is the fourth lawsuit filed against Georgia agencies to force them to cover this type of treatment. The state and local authorities have lost previous trials, or reached agreements.
In North Carolina, a court ruling found a similar ban illegal, the state is appealing the decision. A ban in Wisconsin was also overturned in 2018 (see Gender treatment of minors: Wisconsin Assembly opposes it). West Virginia and Iowa have also lost lawsuits over employee coverage, while Florida and Arizona are facing lawsuits (see Gender: Two Bills to Protect US Minors).
The lawsuit cited a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that “treating a person differently because they are transgender or homosexual is a violation of a section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting discrimination based on sex.
In 2019, the University System of Georgia paid $100,000 in damages and amended its rules in a case brought by a university employee. Last year, the Health Department agreed to change provisions of the Medicaid program to settle a lawsuit filed by two beneficiaries.
Also in 2022, a jury ordered Houston County to pay $60,000 in damages to a sheriff’s deputy after a federal judge ruled that her superiors illegally denied her coverage for surgery gender change. Houston County has appealed the ruling, which is scheduled to be reviewed in November before the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.