Governor Cuomo Announces New Actions to Protect Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming New Yorkers

On Wednesday, Transgender Day of Remembrance, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he would be directing the Department of Financial Services (DFS) – the state agency that regulates private insurance companies – to propose new actions to further protect access to health insurance for transgender and non-binary individuals. The Governor also directed the Division of Human Rights to develop a GENDA public awareness campaign that would launch in January for the one year anniversary of the signing of that landmark legislation.

In 2016, Callen-Lorde created and lead a statewide coalition of TGNB consumers, legal advocates and providers that has been instrumental in pushing for these changes. Specifically, in order to protect access for transgender and gender non-binary and non-conforming coverage in commercial health care plans, DFS will:

  • Issue regulations to codify current DFS circular letters regarding coverage for gender dysphoria, coverage for non-gender specific services, and coverage for PrEP;
  • Issue regulations to clarify prohibitions of gender identity discrimination in health insurance;
  • Require external appeal agents with experience in transgender health to the extent practicable;
  • Work with the Office of Mental Health to prohibit categorical exclusions in insurance plans for gender-affirming services so that individuals receive the medical necessity review they deserve.

Manager of TGNB Programming D’hana Perry said, “In 2016, Callen-Lorde convened the Transgender Advocacy Working Group; a collection of legal advocates, medical professionals, and TGNB community members who have been working closely together to ensure that New York State based insurance companies provide coverage for the care that they are legally bound to provide.  This announcement from Governor Cuomo – especially on Transgender Day of Remembrance – is incredible news for the staff and community partners who have been working tirelessly on these issues. We are optimistic that we’ll see equity across state policies that affect the lives of transgender New Yorkers, no matter where in the state they may live.”

These actions will go a long way toward eliminating unnecessary and discriminatory insurance denials for the life-saving, gender-affirming care our patients and communities deserve. Join us in celebrating this victory and our continued impact on critical New York State policy. Read the official announcement here.