AP

Judge: West Virginia Medicaid must cover transgender care

Aug 3, 2022, 2:26 PM | Updated: 2:47 pm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s Medicaid program must provide coverage for gender-confirming care for transgender residents, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Chuck Chambers in Huntington made the ruling Tuesday in a lawsuit filed by LGBTQ interest group Lambda Legal over treatments for gender dysphoria. Chambers said the Medicaid exclusion discriminated on the basis of sex and transgender status and violated the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment, the Affordable Care Act and the Medicaid Act.

Chambers certified the lawsuit as a class action, covering all transgender West Virginians who participate in Medicaid.

“Protecting and advancing health care for transgender people is vital, sound, and just,” Lambda Legal attorney Avatara Smith-Carrington said in a statement. “Transgender West Virginia Medicaid participants deserve to have equal access to the same coverage for medically necessary healthcare that cisgender Medicaid participants receive as a matter of course.”

The original lawsuit also named state employee health plans. It was filed on behalf of Christopher Fain, who was denied coverage for his testosterone prescription under Medicaid, and Zachary Martell, who is married to a state employee with health care coverage. Both Fain and Martell were denied coverage for a bilateral mastectomy.

Last September, two plaintiffs were added to the lawsuit. Transgender women Shauntae Anderson and Leanne James were denied coverage for gender-confirming care, according to the lawsuit. Anderson is enrolled in a Medicaid plan and James was enrolled in a Public Employees Insurance Agency health plan offered by the state.

A settlement with The Health Plan of West Virginia Inc. earlier this year led to the removal of the exclusion on gender-confirming care in that company’s PEIA plans. Remaining claims involving PEIA were dismissed after James died in February, Lambda Legal said.

“This decision is validating, confirming that after years of fighting to prove that gender-confirming care is medically necessary, we should have access to the same services that West Virginia Medicaid already provides to cisgender participants,” Fain said in the statement. “Transgender West Virginians should never feel as if our lives are worth less than others.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

11 hours ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

2 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

2 days ago

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

6 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

8 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Judge: West Virginia Medicaid must cover transgender care