gender-affirming care, gender-affirming surgery, policy advocacy, transgender, insurance
Gender-affirming surgery (GAS) has been proven to be successful in the treatment of gender dysphoria. The benefits of providing insurance coverage for transition-related surgeries far surpass the costs of suffering from persistent gender dysphoria, including many positive health outcomes such as decreased rates of substance use, psychiatric illness, and suicide. Despite being deemed a medical necessity, discrepancies in access to treatment and insurance coverage for GAS persist. The purpose of this review is to understand the impact of limited insurance coverage on the well-being of transgender patients. A comprehensive search was conducted utilizing the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines in SCOPUS and PubMed databases using the terms "insurance" AND "gender affirming surgery." Articles in non-English languages were excluded. Data related to variations in insurance coverage for GAS in the United States were collected. Of the 67 articles reviewed, 29 met the inclusion criteria. When compared to the general population, individuals who identify as transgender have higher rates of being uninsured as of 2020, with only 30 states in the United States providing insurance coverage for transgender and gender non-binary people. Of the 30 states, only 18 provide coverage for GAS, with chondrolaryngoplasty having the highest prevalence of coverage. As evidenced in our review, the persistence of complex insurance regulations impedes transgender individuals' access to equitable care. Overall, this literature review elucidates the variability in insurance coverage as it relates to gender-affirming care. Furthermore, this review highlights the need for additional health policy reforms, in addition to improving physician awareness regarding the hurdles of navigating the insurance world as a transgender patient.
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Patel, Heli; Camacho, Justin M.; Salehi, Neeku; Garakani, Romina; Friedman, Leigh; and Reid, Chris M., "Journeying Through the Hurdles of Gender-Affirming Care Insurance: A Literature Analysis." (2023). HPD Articles. 396.
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