MaineCare has begun covering medically necessary medical care for transgender Mainers.

The policy change, approved through the rule-making process in June by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, became effective Sept. 16, according to a news release Wednesday by EqualityMaine and the Maine Transgender Network.

The groups say the new MaineCare policy removes an outdated and discriminatory exclusion affecting gender transition care. Under the new rule, medical providers will be reimbursed for providing MaineCare covered services to treat patients with gender dysphoria, a clinical distress caused by a conflict between a person’s gender identity and the sex assigned to that person at birth.

“Trans people face significant economic barriers to accessing care, and more than one in three trans people have declined to access care of any kind because they could not afford it,” Quinn Gormley, executive director of Maine TransNet, said in the release. “Making MaineCare specifically trans inclusive is a vital step towards eliminating these barriers.”

On June 18, the DHHS adopted an emergency rule that removed transsexual procedures from the MaineCare list of services that are not covered. According to the emergency rule document, the rule was deemed necessary to avoid an immediate threat to public health, safety and general welfare.

Maine  joins 22 other states that provide coverage for transition and gender affirming care through Medicaid.

 

 

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