Trans-Inclusive Health Care Brings Oregonians One Step Closer to Full Equality

Every day, transgender people are denied access to health care they need based solely on who they are. In January, two significant policy changes were announced that will dramatically improve access to health care for transgender people in Oregon.

TransActive, Oregon’s leading nonprofit serving transgender children, youth, and their families, announced that beginning October 2014 physician-recommended puberty suppressing treatment of transgender adolescents has been added to the Oregon Health Plan and Oregon Healthy Kids program—marking the first time any local, state, or federally funded program has added such coverage.

“The $1,000 ‘out-of-pocket’ monthly cost of pubertal suppression treatment is out of reach for most families,” said TransActive Executive Director, Jenn Burleton. “Pubertal suppression provides transgender adolescents the option of avoiding unwanted, irreversible, and deeply distressing changes that come with birth-sex pubertal development,” Burleton said. “Thanks to this common sense, safe, and medically-recommended action by the Oregon Health Plan, lives will be saved.”

Also in January, Basic Rights Oregon shared great news. The Insurance Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services announced that insurance companies doing business in Oregon must end discriminatory exclusions of medically-necessary healthcare for transgender Oregonians. The changes are currently in place now and will impact most insurance that people get through their employers in Oregon equating to about one third of people in the state.

“We know that transgender people too often face unfair treatment in employment, housing, and health care,” said Pride Foundation Executive Director, Kris Hermanns. “Trans-inclusive employer-provided health insurance ensures access to vital and necessary health services and fosters a more diverse and healthy workforce.”

After years of work on these issues, TransActive and the Trans Justice team at Basic Rights Oregon are celebrating these tremendous victories for transgender, gender-queer, and gender non-conforming Oregonians. Pride Foundation salutes the hard work of these community leaders and all that they have done for our community. If you would like more information about the T in LGBTQ check out these great resources:

Jett is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Oregon. Email Jett.

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