Pritzker changes state’s Medicaid policy to cover sex reassignment surgery

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: L.G.B.T. activists and their supporters rally in support of transgender people on the steps of New York City Hall, October 24, 2018 in New York City. The group gathered to speak out against the Trump administration's stance toward transgender people. The New York Times reported on an unreleased administration memo that proposes a strict biological definition of gender based on a person's genitalia at birth. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD- On April 5 Governor Pritzker said the state’s Medicaid program will soon cover sex reassignment surgery, IL News reports.

The proposed rule would allow Medicaid members diagnosed with gender dysphoria to be eligible for genital and breast-related surgery.

Treatment for gender dysphoria can include hormone therapy. When someone transitions, they often take hormones to either develop secondary male characteristics or help change their musculature, skin and fat distribution, according to the Washington Post. The hormones also reduce the dysphoria transgender people struggle with. After a month or so of hormone therapy their brains and bodies begin aligning.

Surgery includes refashioning delicate reproductive organs to match the patient’s desired gender. According to the Washington Post, male-to-female genital surgery is easier and less expensive than female-to-male. Additional cosmetic surgeries like mastectomies or plastic surgery help some who transition, though its unclear if Pritzker’s rule change will cover cosmetic surgeries.

About 1,400 of Illinois’ 3.1 million Medicaid members are diagnosed with gender dysphoria, IL News reports. Last year, about 2,500 prescriptions for hormone therapy were covered.

Money for the expanded coverage will come from state and federal funds, though the governor’s office hasn’t said what the change will cost.

Coverage could be available starting this summer after a public comment period.


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