Category: Blog

Anti-Trans Insurance Policies Banned in Oregon

It was announced on December 19, 2012 by the Oregon Insurance Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services that private health insurance companies could no longer discriminate against trans policy holders.

Transgender advocates have been lauding the regulations, which prohibit denying coverage of hormone therapy, hysterectomies, mastectomies, and other medically-necessary treatments for gender dysphoria and sex-reassignment surgery. Even though many of these surgeries are already protected for non-trans policy holders, the law now specifically prohibits denying coverage for a surgery because the recipient is trans. The regulations also expand mental health services to include trans policy holders.

Being transgender is considered a mental health disorder known as Gender Identity Disorder in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) – a highly controversial decision. On December 2, 2012, the APA announced that it would be removing Gender Identity Disorder from DSM-V and replacing it with Gender Dysphoria. The difference is that GID focuses on whether a person feels their birth sex and gender are in alignment, and GD focuses on the anguish caused by being unable to make the alignment between sex and gender. For example, a person who might be diagnosed with GID doesn’t necessarily suffer from dysphoria if they have access to gender reassignment surgery, but a person who might be diagnosed with GID could suffer dysphoria if they’re prevented from getting medical treatments and surgeries to change their sex to suit their gender.

In the US, payment for health care treatment by insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid relies on the diagnosis of a specific disorder categorized in the DSM-IV. Some say the “disorder” should be struck because it inappropriately stigmatizes trans identities, much like homosexuality was until 1973, and some say it’s necessary in order for trans people to receive the health care they need, such as gender reassignment surgery. The American Psychological Association seems to agree that it is not being trans that causes the requisite distress or disability that qualifies a psychological state as a disorder, but rather the social stigma, discrimination, violence, and difficulty obtaining access to health care that trans people face.

For more information on what being trans means, you can visit the APA’s website on sexuality and gender identification.

Hobby Lobby Defies Court By Refusing to Cover Morning-After Pill

When the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act on June 28, 2012, it required employers to provide insurance that covers emergency contraception. The craft store Hobby Lobby refuses cover the morning after pill, citing religious convictions.

In an effort to prevent the $1.2 million daily fines they would be facing, Hobby Lobby took the issue to court. Justice Sotomayor and the Supreme Court refused to grant Hobby Lobby an injunction, and on Friday, December 28, 2012, the company announced its refusal to adhere to the federal order.

Misinformation about the causes and effects of the morning-after pill, often known by the popular brand name Plan B, promulgates the belief that it induces abortions. This is not true.

Hobby Lobby and its sister company, Mardel, have decided to accept whatever fines the government levies against them for failing to follow the law.

Religious organizations that were exempt from implementing the required contraception coverage will no longer be allowed to deny coverage after August 1, 2013. Contraception coverage applies even to organizations and groups run by religious organizations that oppose contraception, including Christian hospitals and charities. This controversial decision was made after the Institute of Medicine found that contraception is medically necessary “to ensure women’s health and well-being”.

Is your state the healthiest state in the US?

According to the United Health Foundation, 26.2% of Americans lead sedentary lives, but premature deaths and death caused by heart disease and cancer have been decreasing for the past twenty years. The report released in conjunction with the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention found that the healthier a state was, the fewer citizens who had sedentary lifestyles.

The study was done by phone, and determinants included: smoking, binge drinking, obesity, high school graduation rates, sedentary lifestyle, children in poverty, infectious disease cases, air pollution, violent crime, health insurance, immunizations, primary care doctors, hospitalizations, and rate of conditions and deaths, like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

So which are the healthiest states?

Vermont leads for the second year in a row.

Mississippi found itself last, tied with Louisiana, and in the same spot as last year.

The list follows:

  1. Vermont
  2. Hawaii
  3. New Hampshire
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Minnesota
  6. Connecticut
  7. New Jersey
  8. Utah
  9. Maine
  10. Rhode Island
  11. Colorado/North Dakota
  12. Oregon/Washington
  13. Nebraska
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Idaho
  16. New York
  17. Maryland
  18. Iowa
  19. Virginia
  20. California
  21. Wyoming
  22. Kansas
  23. Arizona
  24. Pennsylvania
  25. South Dakota
  26. Alaska
  27. Montana
  28. Illinois
  29. Delaware
  30. New Mexico
  31. North Carolina
  32. Florida
  33. Ohio
  34. Georgia
  35. Michigan
  36. Nevada
  37. Tennessee
  38. Texas
  39. Indiana
  40. Missouri
  41. Oklahoma
  42. Kentucky
  43. Alabama
  44. South Carolina
  45. West Virginia
  46. Arkansas
  47. Louisiana/Mississippi