Will Health Insurance Pay For Your Gender Reassignment Surgery?

If you've finally made the decision to fully -- and medically -- transition to the opposite gender, you may be concerned about the cost of the procedures that awaits you. Although your doctor will likely recommend that you ease into this transition by having consecutive (rather than concurrent) operations, allowing you to pay medical bills as they arise, these costs can still add up quickly. Can you convince your health insurance plan to cover these procedures? Are there other ways for you to help defray the costs of this surgery? Read on to learn more about the cost of (and ways to pay for) gender reassignment surgery and related cosmetic operations.

When will your health insurance cover gender reassignment surgery?

Since gender reassignment surgery was developed, it's been considered an elective surgery that is not generally covered by health insurance plans. However, several court decisions and a certain amount of public pressure have led to many of the nation's largest insurance carriers offering coverage for gender reassignment surgery and transgender-related health care.

If your current health insurance policy doesn't cover this surgery, you may want to check with your employer to determine whether this coverage is something offered by your insurance company, and -- if so -- you can be permitted to purchase a better plan so that you'll have this coverage. Your employer may be able to offer several tiers of coverage to permit you to choose the policy that can provide you with needed coverage, while still retaining lower-cost policies for other employees.

What types of gender reassignment-related surgeries will insurance not cover?

Although many health insurance companies will cover the reassignment surgery and related surgeries (like breast removal for female-to-male transgendered patients), there are some procedures associated with gender reassignment that are considered purely cosmetic -- and therefore elective. Often, these procedures are the final steps toward your transition, and can help subtly reshape your face to better resemble the opposite gender.

Procedures like Adam's apple shaving or chin reduction are generally closely enough related to minimizing masculine features that they're still a part of the gender reassignment process, but it may be difficult for you to find insurance to cover a facelift, rhinoplasty, or botox. If you're seeking one such treatment, you'll want to talk to your physician or plastic surgeon to determine whether an argument can be made that these treatments are strictly related to your gender reassignment, rather than a mere attempt to improve your appearance on the insurance company's dime. To find out more about cosmetic surgery, contact someone like Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Center.