An 18-year-old college student who identifies as a transgender man has settled a landmark civil rights case against Kaiser Permanente of Colorado.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission found in March that there was probable cause that Miki Alexander Manigault suffered discrimination and unequal access to health care specifically because he is transgender.
Alex has had the chest reconstruction surgery that doctors deemed medically necessary but Kaiser previously failed to cover, according to the formal complaint. Insurance companies provide all sorts of breast surgeries for other patients, including reconstruction for psychological well-being for cancer patients. It seemed fair to Alex and his mother that health insurance should also provide coverage that makes transgender people healthier.
LGBT advocates see this case as a tipping point.
“It’s the first one I know of related to health insurance,” said Ashley Wheeland, health policy director and a staff attorney for One Colorado.
“It sends a powerful signal that anti-discrimination protections do protect transgender individuals and that systems — including health systems — need to look within their (organizations) for discrimination and change that.”