BCBS Changes Sex Reassignment Surgery Policy

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas has changed a policy that denied sex reassignment surgery to people who did not legally change their names, the company confirms.

The change came after the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund raised the issue on behalf of Charley Osman, a transgender man, who was rejected after he sought pre-authorization in June for two surgeries.

Several medical providers agreed Osman’s surgery was medically necessary, ACLU of Kansas said.

The organizations sent a letter to Blue Cross Blue Shield on Osman’s behalf in August saying the name change requirement was outdated, inconsistent with medical standards, discriminatory, and illegal.

The insurance company’s new policy lists 18 procedures often associated with gender reassignment that it said are considered cosmetic, and will not be covered.

Those include such things as breast or calf implants, hair removal, voice modification, or chin reshaping.