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Illinois Insurance Department joins others states opposing attacks on trans healthcare

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(Photo by Zackary Drucker as part of Broadly’s Gender Spectrum Collection)

CHICAGO — The Illinois Department of Insurance has joined other state insurance departments in opposing proposed changes to rules that protect healthcare access for transgender people.

Illinois Insurance Director Robert Muriel joined 17 other insurance commissioners in signing a letter voicing their opposition to the Trump administration’s move last week.

“Illinois is committed to protecting consumers and fostering an inclusive insurance marketplace. No one should be discriminated against, especially when it comes to access to healthcare,” Muriel said in a press release.

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 23% of transgender people avoided going to the doctor when sick or injured out of fear of discrimination in the past year and 33% of transgender people who did see a health care provider in the past year were harassed, denied care, or even assaulted.

The proposed changes affect Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits sex discrimination in health insurance and clarifies protections for transgender Americans from being denied lifesaving, medically necessary care. On May 24, 2019 the Trump Administration proposed regulations that seek to roll back protections that ensure equal protection from discrimination by insurers and providers.

The letter states: “We are committed to prohibiting discrimination in our states and are deeply concerned about the proposed rule’s impact on the companies we regulate and consumers nationwide. For these reasons, we urge you to abandon the proposed rule’s changes regarding the unfair treatment of transgender consumers. In its current form, the proposed rule would undermine the civil rights protections for millions of consumers, generate confusion, and negatively affect state insurance markets.”

Other Midwestern states signing the letter include Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. Like Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin have been starting to implement more progressive policies since November.

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