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State Health Plan To Cover Gender Dysphoria Treatment Starting Jan. 1

photo of a unisex bathroom sign

Transgender state employees will soon be able to get hormonal treatments and gender confirmation surgery under the State Health Plan.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finalized new nondiscrimination rules last spring. Now, any program receiving federal funding must include care for patients who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. That's when someone's sex contradicts their gender identity.

The State Health Plan Board of Trustees voted last week to cover medically-necessary hormone treatments and surgeries, beginning on January 1. The independent Segal Consulting estimates this service could cost the state up to $850,000 dollars per year.

The State Treasurer's Office oversees the State Health Plan. An e-mail from spokesman Brad Young said the state faced potential lawsuits and loss of federal funding if it didn't comply.

But the decision rankled Republican Treasurer-elect Dale Folwell. He said the Trustees were not transparent about plans to add coverage options to the state health plan, which is already $32 billion in debt.

Folwell said his opposition to the vote has no bearing on his opinion regarding transgender issues.
“It's not just this issue,” he said. “It's other kind of unfunded mandates that are being put on the state of North Carolina that have nothing to do with this issue.”

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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