WASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the Obama administration proposes new rules that would prevent health care providers from discriminating against transgender patients, a national survey finds that when care is denied, there are important costs for both insurers and the public.
As a result of being denied coverage for transition-related care, preliminary results indicated that 35 percent of respondents reported needing psychotherapy, 23 percent became unemployed, 15 percent attempted suicide, and 15 percent needed public assistance programs.
The report also found that 37 percent of respondents denied care turned to drugs and/or alcohol; 36 percent developed other physical symptoms.
"Insurers and policymakers have had an antiquated list of exclusions that haven't evolved for several decades," said John Hodson, president of True Benefit, which commissioned the survey. "The thought was that denying transgender medical care saved policy holders money. This report shows that's not true.
"There are important costs—to insurers and the public—associated with denying care to transgender individuals, including the costs of therapy, public assistance, unemployment, and care for new physical symptoms."
An insurance industry professional, Hudson became interested in the issue when his own daughter was denied coverage— although she was supposed to be covered— just weeks before a gender-reassignment operation planned two years earlier. She eventually became the first person covered by a new Connecticut mandate in 2014.
The survey of 355 transgender individuals, among the first to focus on denial of health care, was conducted by TrueChild in May, 2015. Their average age was 35. Although the majority (85 percent) were living full-time in a gender other than their birth sex, only about half (54 percent) had completed all or part of their physical transitions. A copy of the survey is available from TrueChild and HMA Community Strategies, which conducted the research.
True Benefit assists businesses in developing comprehensive strategies for their Employee Benefit programs.
HMA Community Strategies is a division of Health Management Associates, an independent, national research and consulting firm focused on publicly-financed health care.
TrueChild (no relation to True Benefit) helps institutions and practitioners focus on the impact of rigid gender norms.