Hawaii advances bill to make medical insurers cover gender-affirming care

The House of Representatives in Hawaii passed a bill requiring medical insurers to cover gender-affirming treatments for Trans people.

People protesting for Trans rights carrying signs and a Trans flag. In Hawaii, a bill for gender-affirming care was passed.
Image: Via Wikimedia Commons - @TedEytan

On March 8, the House of Representatives in Hawaii approved legislation that would require insurance companies to cover gender-affirming medical care for Trans people. Only two representatives of the Democratic-controlled House voted against the bill, making its approval almost unanimous.

Now the law, officially called HB 2405, will move on to the Senate and if passed, health insurance companies in Hawaii will no longer be able to deny coverage for necessary gender-affirming medical care procedures that were previously deemed “cosmetic services”. However, the bill will not come into effect until 2060.

The proposal states that “The legislature finds that many Transgender persons have experienced discriminatory treatment from health insurance providers when seeking coverage for gender-affirming treatments”. It also acknowledges that those same treatments are often covered for cisgender people and the assessment of medical necessity behind these choices seemed to be “arbitrary” and not “evidence-based”.

LGBTQ+ activists took to Twitter to welcome the news and express their joy at this further step towards more inclusive health care. “We need less state legislatures like Texas and Florida and more like Hawaii. This bill is amazing and will do wonders for Trans people,” one user commented.

The tweet refers to legislations like the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay ‘ bill recently passed in Florida or the actions taken against Trans youth in Texas. Indeed, the new bill introduced in Hawaii is in stark contrast to what is happening in many other parts of the US.

An example of how differently states in the US are behaving vis á vis Trans folks and their rights is what is happening in Idaho, where the House of Representatives recently passed a bill that criminalises gender-affirming healthcare for Trans kids and makes helping a child travel to another state for that purpose punishable by life imprisonment. According to Human Rights Campaign, more than 270 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in different US states only this year, the majority of which targets Transgender children.


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