Thursday, January 24, 2013

Oregon Set To Cover Transgender Youths Under Medicaid

Jenn Burleton via TransActive Education & Advocacy

By Chris Dyer | SALEM, OR -- Last Friday, the Portland-based TransActive Education & Advocacy group's executive director Jenn Burleton announced that Oregon will become the first state in the nation to offer medically necessary transition-related care to transgender youth covered under Medicaid.
According to Burleton, beginning October 1, 2014, services covered by the new health care plan will include not only mental health counseling and pediatric evaluation, but also medication, procedures, and follow-up care related to the suppression of puberty.
"Pubertal suppression provides transgender adolescents the option of avoiding unwanted, irreversible, and deeply distressing changes that come with birth-sex pubertal development," said Burleton in a statement. "Far too often trans adolescents experience increased suicidal ideation as a result of these changes and the indifference of others about the impact these changes have on trans youth."
Burleton noted that while such treatments are effective, they can also be prohibitively expensive. Out-of-pocket costs can reach $1,000 a month, putting the lifesaving treatment out of reach of many Oregon families, reports PQ.
But treatments, while effective, aren’t cheap. Out-of-pocket costs for pubertal suppression treatment can reach $1,000 a month, Burleton says, making it impossible for many families to afford this life-saving care.
“Thanks to this common sense, safe, and medically-recommended action by the Oregon Health Plan, lives will be saved,” Burleton said. “TransActive is extremely grateful to have been able to play a part in this victory.”
Specifically, the OHP will cover hormonal treatment to delay the onset or continuation of puberty in gender questioning children and adolescents no earlier than Tanner stage 2-3. A comprehensive mental health evaluation is required, and ongoing psychological care is recommended. 
The new guidelines will additionally require a comprehensive mental health evaluation and recommends ongoing psychological care for the gender-variant youth.