Gender-affirming lawsuit against BCBS of Illinois set as class action

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A lawsuit over the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois’ (BCBSIL) coverage of gender-affirming care has been certified as a class action.

Reuters reported that a federal judge in Washington state found Wednesday that Patricia and Nolle Pritchard and their son, identified as C.P., could represent a class of transgender beneficiaries of health plans administered by the insurer.

The lawsuit claims that the health insurer had violated the anti-discrimination provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by refusing to cover a transgender teenager’s gender-affirming care through an employer plan it administers.

U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan in Tacoma made the ruling, the news service reported.

According to Reuters, Bryan rejected BCBSIL’s argument that differences between different plans and patients’ circumstances prevented them from being part of a single lawsuit, saying BCBSIL’s conduct was common to all potential class members.

“We’re gratified by the court’s decision,” Omar Gonzalez-Pagan of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, a lawyer for the Pritchards, told Reuters.

BCBSIL had not responded to Reuters’ requests for comment.

The lawsuit was filed in November 2020 when the insurer declined to cover a hormone therapy implant and chest reconstruction surgery for C.P. The policy is funded by Patricia Partichard’s employer Catholic Health Initiatives and administered by BCBSIL.

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