A transgender state employee who claims he was discriminated against for years by being denied medical insurance coverage for gender reassignment surgery is suing Pennsylvania in federal court.
Those coverage denials constituted violations of his civil rights and made a lie of claims by officials, including Gov. Tom Wolf, that the state doesn’t discriminate against transgender people, the Steelton man contends.
The suit filed in U.S. Middle District Court states that the man, identified in the suit as “John Doe,” was born with female physiology but identifies as male.
Doe claims he sought, and was repeatedly denied, insurance coverage under the state’s policy with Highmark after being diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Gender reassignment surgery was a medical necessity in his case, he contends.
Doe’s attempts to obtain insurance coverage for that surgery were rebuffed in 2016 and 2017, and it wasn’t until 2018 that his state health insurance policy was altered to cover the operation, the suit states. It states that Doe underwent the procedure in March 2018.
The prior coverage exclusions were “purely the result of discriminatory bias and invidious stereotypes about people who are transgender,” Doe’s lawyer Justin F. Robinette wrote in the complaint.
Doe claims the delay in getting coverage for his surgery exacerbated his gender dysphoria and caused him “immense psychological trauma” and “greatly negatively affected his social life.”
“Doe spent most of his time indoors and alone,” the suit states. “Doe experienced profound isolation and loneliness.”
He is seeking more than $150,000 in damages and demanding that the state be required to post notice of what he expects will be his winning verdict in the federal case as verification of its “commitment to insure transgender employees on an equal and nondiscriminatory basis.”