VICTORY! Alaska Removes Medicaid Ban on Transition-Related Health Care

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June 29, 2021

The State of Alaska has finalized Alaska Medicaid regulations to ensure medically necessary coverage for transgender Alaska Medicaid recipients. The confirmation comes six months after Lambda Legal and the Northern Justice Project reached a settlement with the State of Alaska in the class-action lawsuit brought in March 2019, on behalf of transgender Alaskans who were denied Medicaid coverage for their medically necessary transition-related health care.

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Carl Charles issued the following statement:

“Transition-related health care is essential health care, full stop. Our clients are delighted that the State of Alaska, at long last, recognized that fact. Our clients and other transgender Alaskans will no longer endure the physical, mental, and stigmatizing harm caused by exclusions in the state Medicaid program. This is a significant step toward ensuring the health and safety of all transgender Alaskans, at a time when access to health care is more important than ever.”

Under the terms of the settlement, the State of Alaska agreed to strike the categorical denial of Medicaid coverage for “treatment, therapy, surgery, or other procedures related to gender reassignment,” and for “transsexual surgical procedures or secondary consequences,” from the state Medicaid plan. Lambda Legal and the Northern Justice Project had argued the categorical exclusion violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.

The case is Being et al. v. Crum et al. Read the amended regulation here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/legal-docs/being_ak_20210625_hss-regulations-re-medicaid-coverage-payment-for-gender-dysphoria-related-services.

Read about the case and settlement here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/being_ak_2020_being-vs-crum

Handling the case are Lambda Legal attorneys Carl Charles, Nora Huppert, and Tara Borelli and Northern Justice Project lawyers Goriune Dudukgian and James J. Davis, Jr., joined by pro-bono co-counsel Danielle M. Ryman and Sarah L. Schirack with Perkins Coie LLP.