A federal board ruled Friday that
Medicare can no longer automatically deny healthcare coverage for
In a groundbreaking decision, the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Departmental Appeals
Board ruled in favor of a 74-year-old transgender Army veteran.
Denee Mallon of Albuquerque, New Mexico
two years ago was denied coverage for her genital reconstruction
“When people ask if I am too old, it
feels like they are implying that it's a 'waste of money' to operate
at my age,” Mallon told the AP. “But I could have an active life
ahead of me for another 20 years. And I want to spend those years in
congruence and not distress.”
The 5-member panel said there was no
justification for the outright ban.
ACLU explained in a statement that lifting of the ban “means
that individuals will not automatically have claims of coverage for
gender transition-related surgeries denied. They should either get
coverage or, at a minimum, receive an individualized review of the
medical need for the specific procedure they seek, just like anyone
seeking coverage for any other medical treatment.”
added in a statement: “This decision means so much to me and to
many other transgender people. I am relieved to know that my doctor
and I can now address my medical needs, just as other patients and