Insurance Coverage for Transgender New Mexicans

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In light of the recent Trump memo that attempts to continue the systematic neglect and discrimination against transgender Americans, the LGBTQ+ community must understand our rights – especially on issues as important as health care.

Today, we are excited to announce a big win for the transgender and gender-expansive community in New Mexico.

In late August, the New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance issued the “Transgender Non-Discrimination in Health Insurance Benefits” bulletin. This bulletin does not change any New Mexico laws or regulations; rather, it helps insurance companies and consumers understand their obligations and rights under state and federal law.

What does the bulletin say?

Specifically, the bulletin makes it clear that private insurance plans sold in New Mexico cannot, among other things:

  1. Deny or limit coverage for services related to gender transition if coverage is available for those services under the policy when the services are not related to gender transition (e.g. hormone therapy, counseling, hysterectomy, mastectomy or vocal training).

  2. Deny or limit coverage of procedures commonly associated with a particular sex (e.g. pap smears or prostate exams) when those services are clinically necessary.

  3. Consider someone’s gender identity or transgender status as a preexisting condition.

  4. Deny, limit, or refuse to renew an insurance policy because of someone’s gender identity.

How do we use this bulletin?

This bulletin is an important tool for transgender consumers to advocate for themselves with their insurance companies to get the care they need, including transition-related care. For example, if you are trying to get coverage related to gender transition, you can include or reference this bulletin in your request for preauthorization.

Remember: you still need to provide to the insurance company documentation from a qualified physician to demonstrate the procedure for which you seek coverage is medically necessary.

Consumers who believe they were discriminated against in insurance for being transgender can file complaints with the New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance.

Open Enrollment

Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act begins November 1 and goes until December 15. To compare health care plans, use the OSI’s plan comparison tool. You can also check out Out2Enroll for specific plan information on transition-related care.

Questions?

If you have questions about what this bulletin means, feel free to contact us at 505-200-9086 or tgrcnm@tgrcnm.org, Equality New Mexico, or the National Center for Transgender Equality.

What’s Next?

While this is a big win for New Mexicans, we still have work to do. Even with the federal government playing political games with our lives, we have the opportunity to deepen protections for transgender New Mexicans. In the next legislative session, we will re-introduce the Vital Records Modernization Act which will allow folks to amend their birth certificate to affirm their gender, including having a third marker - an “X” to indicate nonbinary, undesignated, or other.

We need your help to pass this bill. Together with Equality New Mexico and the National Center for Transgender Equality, we are working to get this bill to the Governor’s desk in 2019. That’s where you come in:

You’ll get notified of opportunities to volunteer and help us deepen protections for trans and gender-expansive New Mexicans.

We #WontBeErased

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Today, in the wake of the Trump Administration's irresponsible and bigoted proposal to define transgender people out of existence, the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico stands shoulder to shoulder with New Mexico's fearless local, state, and federal leaders, and with our educated and compassionate medical community, to clearly protest and affirm: we #WontBeErased.

This extremist attack on millions of Americans is more than transphobic; it is the struggle of patriarchy to keep its grips in a culture and society that is shedding old binaries and beliefs. Narrowing transgender civil rights laws not only attacks transgender people but will also set back women's rights and hurts anyone who is perceived as not conforming to rigid gender stereotypes.

The transgender community has long been the target of hate, abuse, and political gamesmanship, and Donald Trump and his cronies are no exception. It must not be lost on any of us the suspect timing of this so-called "memo leak" that is weeks before one of the most important elections in our nation's history. This November, we have the opportunity to shift power away from the fascist state we have been under with the Trump Administration; make no mistake that this political attack is, in fact, also a political ploy to rally the bases of demagoguery, intolerance, and nationalism.

To our beloved transgender, intersex, gender non-conforming, non-binary, and gender variant communities: we will continue to serve you as we have for the past decade. We will continue to organize and advocate to make New Mexico a place that welcomes, affirms, and protects you and your families. In the coming legislative session, we will work to pass policies that make it easier for you to live your lives as your true selves - and we have the support to do it. Our doors are open to you, as they have always been.

Different than in times past, today we have more allies than ever fighting by our side. To Donald Trump, the sham that is his Administration, and all those who support him: we #WontBeErased.


"The President needs a lesson in treating people with dignity and respect. The vicious and ignorant memo from the Trump administration regarding trans identity blatantly dehumanizes and attempts to erase over 1.4 million Americans. When elected to Congress, I will take the fight against transphobia directly to the steps of the White House because under no circumstance should our President be in the business of stripping people of their identity. Trans New Mexicans, and all Trans Americans, are not alone. The community is behind you, you #WontBeErased. I will be by your side in this fight until you have full equality, respect and the ability to feel safe in this country."

- Deb Haaland, Democratic Candidate for New Mexico's 1st Congressional District


"The Trump Administration’s illegal and bigoted proposal is an attack on the civil rights of transgender people that undermines all American’s equal access to health care, to housing, to education, and to fair treatment under the law. If enacted, this rule would recklessly erase 2 million transgender people from federal civil rights protections, gut enforcement of non-discrimination laws, and challenge the precedents set by dozens of federal courts over the last two decades affirming the full rights and identities of transgender Americans. Congress must stand up for the dignity and very lives of transgender people."

- Michelle Lujan Grisham, U.S. Representative for New Mexico's 1st Congressional District & Democratic Candidate for Governor of New Mexico


"To discriminate against transgender Americans by regulating away their very identity is disgraceful, and I will continue to fight against every one of President Trump's anti-American and inhumane attempts to dehumanize and exclude vulnerable populations."

- Hector Balderas, Attorney General of New Mexico


"This action by the Trump Administration is an assault not only on our trans and gender non conforming family--but an affront to our New Mexican values of equality and diversity. No action this administration takes can erase trans and gender non conforming people out of existence. In New Mexico we will continue to pass legislation aimed at defending trans and gender non conforming civil rights; no matter how backwards this administration insists on being."

- Jacob Candelaria, New Mexico State Senator


"An honorable president protects and nurtures every American experience. For generations, we have fought to expand civil rights and learn from the lessons of segregation and nationalism to make our country better and we will not let these worse inclinations of the president diminish the humanity owed to our trans brothers and sisters. Donald Trump does not get to erase our trans family members, co-workers, and neighbors."

- Pat Davis, Albuquerque City Councilor


"As a physician, medical evidence governs every choice I make for patients. The effort to 'define transgender out of existence' by the Trump administration negates both medical evidence and patient report of their own experience. If I diagnosed and treated patients based on uneducated opinions influenced by religious tenets, I would be committing medical malpractice. If the Trump administration goes forward with this idea, they will be further harming millions of people who have already experienced a level of marginalization that leads to more than 40% of gender non-conforming/transgender people who attempt to kill themselves (compared to 4.6% in the general population). But this is not simply about folks who are transgender or gender non-conforming; this sets the stage for the weaponization of the very government entities that are in place to support and protect all of us. If medical fact and patient report be so grossly ignored in this case, there clearly are no boundaries to what Trump can limit and destroy."

- Molly McClain, MD MPH MS


"As a medical provider, rigidly defining a transgender patient merely by their biological sexual organs would be unethical, incredibly disrespectful, and would create multiple the barriers to medical care exponentially. Sexual organs do not define gender and the assertion that they do is something that anyone who works with the transgender community or who loves a transgender friend or family member would immediately and forcefully dispute. That assertion does not align with the reality of who a person really is, and to disregard the truth of someone’s being is ignorant and compromises their safety and well-being. It shortchanges all of us."

- Tam Saimons CNP, Southwest CARE Center


"The Department of Health and Human Service's attempt to define a person's gender based on external genitalia at birth is not based on science and harmful to transgender people. Gender and sex traits occur on a continuum and cannot be defined solely on a person's sex chromosomes or genitalia. Moreover, by changing the definition of gender and sex, transgender people face being excluded from protections and equal rights. Transgender people deserve to be visible, integral, present members of our society. They are our neighbors, our family, our friends and members of our community. They deserve the basic protections and rights for a safe education and health care, employment and a home. When we support the health, visibility, and inclusion of transgender people, we support the health of our community and society as a whole."

- Nate Sharon, MD, New Mexico child psychiatrist