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Transgender Services Benefits

On May 18, 2016, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published its final regulation implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 1557 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in health programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Under the final rule, sex discrimination includes, but is not limited to, discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, gender identity, and sex stereotyping.

This provision requires plan benefits to be amended by prohibiting any categorical exclusion for gender transition services and any surgical sex transformation exclusion must be removed from group health plans to comply with Section 1557. Also, removal of applicable gender edits within our claims system will be required, including existing pharmacy gender edits. For example, if a transgender male develops ovarian cancer, group health plans must provide covered benefits even though the health plan has enrolled this person as a male.

A member must meet ALL the following criteria established under the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) (8th version) in order to be eligible:

  1. Diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder (ICD-10 F64.0, F64.1 or F64.9); and
  2. Age of majority (18 years of age or older); and
  3. The individual must have an experience of gender diversity/incongruence that is marked and sustained over time.
  4. Have knowledge of the benefits and risks of surgery as demonstrated by and documented in an evaluation from a qualified mental health professional.
  5. Unless medically contraindicated, completion of six (6) months of continuous hormone therapy (EXCEPT for Mastectomy); and
  6. An evaluation and recommendation for treatment from a single qualified health care professional who has independently assessed the individual and has only had an evaluative role with the individual. This professional must be licensed by their statutory body and hold, at a minimum, a master’s degree or equivalent training in a clinical field relevant to this role and granted by a nationally accredited statutory institution.

If the above criteria are met, the following procedures are eligible for coverage:

A. Non-Surgical

1. HORMONE REPLACEMENT THERAPIES, including androgen blockers and gonadotropin-releasing (GnRh) analogs
2. LABORATORY TESTING, to monitor hormone therapy

B. Surgical

1. Female-to-Male

               *Note that a trial of hormone therapy is not a pre-requisite to qualifying for a mastectomy.


i. hysterectomy
ii. salpingo-oophorectomy


i. vaginectomy
ii. urethroplasty
iii. metoidioplasty
iv. phalloplasty
v. scrotoplasty
vi. placement of a testicular prosthesis and erectile prosthesis

2. Male-to-Female

a. BREAST DEVELOPMENT - female hormones for at least 12 months to achieve adequate breast development without surgery. Any further intervention by surgical means would be reviewed for medical necessity in accordance with medical policy #106 Reconstructive versus Cosmetic Surgery.


i. orchiectomy


i. penectomy
ii. vaginoplasty
iii. labiaplasty, and
iv. clitoroplasty

The following services are considered COSMETIC in accordance with medical policy #106 Reconstructive versus Cosmetic Surgery, including but not limited to:

  • Abdominoplasty (Refer to policy #058-Management of Excessive Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue)
  • Blepharoplasty (Refer to policy #064- Blepharoplasty, Brow Lift and Ptosis Repair)
  • Body contouring
  • Breast augmentation, surgical (implants or autologous tissue flaps)
  • Brow lift
  • Calf implants
  • Cheek/malar implants
  • Chin/nose implants
  • Collagen injections
  • Construction of a clitoral hood
  • Drugs for hair loss or growth
  • Facial bone reduction
  • Face lift/forehead lift
  • Hair removal
  • Hair transplantation
  • Jaw shortening/sculpturing/facial bone reduction
  • Lip reduction/lip enhancement
  • Liposuction (Refer to policy #056  Reduction Mammaplasty or #058- Management of Excessive Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue) 
  • Mastopexy
  • Neck tightening
  • Pectoral implants
  • Removal of redundant skin (Refer to policy #058-Management of Excessive Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue)
  • Rhinoplasty (Refer to policy #109- Septoplasty, Rhinoplasty Repair)
  • Skin resurfacing
  • Thyroid chrondroplasty/trachea shave
  • Voice modification surgery
  • Voice therapy/voice lessons