State of WI will vote on trans-inclusive healthcare for state workers this Wednesday

by | Aug 21, 2018 | 0 comments

The State of Wisconsin Group Insurance Board (GIB) is meeting to vote on the 2019 insurance benefits for state employees. This means that the GIB will be voting on whether or not to keep the exclusion of transition-related healthcare for trans and nonbinary people for 2019. We are planning on packing the room. Join us!

WHAT:
Meeting of the State of WI Group Insurance Board

WHEN:
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
8:30 a.m. – 2:45 p.m.

WHERE:
Hill Farms State Office Building, Room N108
4822 Madison Yards Way, Madison, WI 53705

AGENDA: http://etf.wi.gov/boards/agenda-items-2018/gib0822/agenda.pdf. It looks like the meeting will start with approximately an hour of closed discussion about the health insurance exclusion (“Consultation with Legal Counsel Concerning Current Administrative and Judicial Litigation Regarding Health Insurance Benefits and HHS Nondiscrimination Regulations”) and the inclusion or exclusion of transition-related healthcare will be taken-up directly before lunch around 10/10:30am.

Whether you can or can’t join us the morning of August 22, please consider sending a letter to the GIB asking that they remove the exclusion.

CLICK HERE to send a message to the GIB right now —> SEND A LETTER. This link will open a new window with your message, ready for your personalization. (In some email apps, the paragraph breaks might be missing from this sample letter. Please feel free to edit your message, and review before sending.)

FOR MORE INFORMATION, please visit the Facebook event organized by the Wisconsin Transgender Health Coalition: https://www.facebook.com/events/438253386672495

* * * * *
Sample letter text:

Dear Members of the Group Insurance Board,

[Explain who you are: a student, employee, medical provider, mental health provider, educator, concerned citizen, etc.  If you have a personal story related to this topic, please consider adding your story here.]

I am writing to urge you to vote to remove the exclusion of procedures, services, and supplies related to surgery and sex hormones associated with gender reassignment for the plan year 2019. These are medically necessary services supported by all leading medical organizations in the United States. Research has demonstrated that having access to these services improves people’s health. Covering these services will cause minimal increase in premiums and will lead to long-term plan savings.

All major clinical and health policy organizations in the United States have issued statements declaring that procedures, services, and supplies related to surgery and sex hormones associated with gender reassignment are medically necessary. These organizations include the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and many others. As these policy statements state, gender-affirming care including hormones, surgical procedures, and psychotherapy are not “elective” or “cosmetic” procedures. They are medically necessary treatment for gender dysphoria. Therefore, these services ought to be included in private and public health insurance plans.

Additionally, much research has shown that there is a connection between having access to these medically necessary services and having better mental and physical health, including areas such as quality of life, HIV incidence, substance use, and utilizing preventive health services. ETF’s own calculations state that including these services will cost approximately $0.05-0.13 per member per month. This is such a minimal amount that providing coverage for gender-affirming care will ultimately lower costs for ETF, as fewer resources will be needed to combat the negative outcomes related to untreated gender dysphoria.

It is vital for the health of the employee members and the financial success of the ETF for these medically necessary services to be covered in the plan 2019 and in subsequent years. Therefore, I urge you to vote to remove the exclusion of procedures, services, and supplies related to surgery and sex hormones associated with gender reassignment at the August 22nd meeting.

Best Regards,

[YOUR NAME, title if applicable, and contact info]

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