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Almost 1 in 10 transgender Americans use nonprescribed hormones because they're uninsured or insurance won't cover the cost

November 17, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Jessica, a transgender Kansas City police officer, takes a handful of hormones everyday to help her body catch up with her gender switch. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT)

For the transgender people who seek it, gender-affirming hormone therapy can be lifesaving. But if they're uninsured or their insurance won't cover it, some bypass the health care system entirely to get the care they need.

Using data from the US Transgender Survey, a sample of almost 28,000 trans Americans from the National Center for Transgender Equality, the study focused on two groups: Uninsured trans people and trans people whose insurance company denied their claims for gender-affirming hormones.

And among uninsured respondents, around 21% said their insurance claims for gender-affirming care had been denied, according to the study.

Mounting evidence shows that accessing gender-affirming health care can be lifesaving for trans people who seek it.

For example, a trans man's insurers may require him to provide two signed letters from mental health care providers when he seeks a gender-affirming hysterectomy, they said.

"Health care systems and physicians and health care providers have so often failed trans people, either with direct discrimination or ignorance of trans people's health care needs," Stroumsa said.

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