As a result of a settlement to a legal claim filed on behalf of Sailor Holobaugh, the state of Maryland will now provide nondiscriminatory health coverage for its transgender employees. Holobaugh, a transgender man and neurological clinical research assistant at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, filed a lawsuit against the State with the help of FreeState Legal after being denied a medically necessary breast removal.
According to FreeState Legal the denial of Holobaugh’s surgery resulted in language within Maryland state law allowed for the exclusion of coverage “for any ‘procedure or treatment designed to alter an individual’s physical characteristics to those of the opposite sex.’”
Maryland, in response to the lawsuit, not only removed the explicitly discriminatory provision from the books but also added a “gender dysphoria benefit” designed to cover the cost of hormones and certain medically necessary surgeries.
"This is basically a fabulous shift in policy," Holobaugh told the Baltimore Sun. "I think this will affect a large number of people, especially now that children can stay on their parents' plan until age 26 under the Affordable Care Act.”
Maryland is the third state in the country, following Oregon and California, to provide nondiscriminatory health coverage to its employees, but Maryland’s fight for trans-equality is far from finished, says Jer Welter, Managing Attorney of FreeState Legal:
“[T]here is still work to be done, including the elimination of similar transition-related care exclusions in the Maryland Medical Assistance (Medicaid) program and in policies issued by private insurers regulated by the Maryland Insurance Administration. FreeState Legal will continue to work diligently on these issues to further ensure that equal and fair health care coverage is a staple for all LGBTQ Marylanders.”
Read FreeState Legal's full press release AFTER THE JUMP...