Gender-affirming therapy and surgery can each have important positive effects on the quality of life for transgender individuals, as research has shown.
Anecdotal evidence and nationwide surveys also support this conclusion.
For example, according to a recent Trevor Project survey on a representative cohort of young transgender individuals in the United States, those who are able to affirm their gender identity are significantly less likely to attempt suicide than peers who are unable to do so.
Yet there are numerous obstacles to affirming one’s correct gender. Among people who seek gender-affirming surgery, for example, the cost is often prohibitive.
Recently, a team of researchers — from the Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven, CT, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, and the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, MN — assessed Medicare coverage for a range of hormone therapies used by transgender people. Their research appears in the journal LGBT Health.
Medicare is a U.S. government insurance program that provides some coverage for costs of healthcare for people aged 65 or over and others with certain health conditions.
In their study, the Yale, UCSF, and Mayo Clinic investigators looked at documentation for the second quarters of 2010, 2014, and 2018 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“These files provide details about plan structure and coverage for all Medicare Advantage and stand-alone plans but do not provide information about the Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in each plan,” the researchers explain in their study paper.