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California to facilitate mastectomies for young girls in the name of progress

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara asked the Department of Insurance to issue a General Counsel Opinion Letter clarifying that gender dysphoric individuals cannot legally be denied chest reconstructive surgery solely based on their age

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California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara asked the Department of Insurance to issue a General Counsel Opinion Letter clarifying that gender dysphoric individuals cannot legally be denied chest reconstructive surgery solely based on their age in the state of California, meaning those under 18-years-old would be able to qualify for such procedures.

"For far too long, individuals diagnosed with gender dysphoria have had to battle a host of challenges to get access to gender-affirming care in order to be their true selves," said Commissioner Lara.

"Social stigma, misconceptions about gender dysphoria and its treatment, and outdated medical criteria create barriers to necessary medical care that can lead to tragic results for individuals with gender dysphoria, especially for our transgender youth," he continued.

While California law already contains protections against insurance companies barring patients from receiving these procedures, recent complaints from young people and parents that some health insurance companies are wrongfully blocking patients from these procedures have brought on the need to legally affirm these protections, a press release from the California Department of Insurance says.

"To be proactive, health insurance companies should evaluate their coverage criteria for gender dysphoria treatment and eliminate any noncompliant practices to avoid needlessly delaying and interfering with medical care recommended by a patient’s doctor," the press release reads.

The Department confirmed that age cannot be a determining factor for insurance companies providing coverage for mastectomies or reconstructive surgery thereafter in response to an inquiry from San Diego’s TransFamily Support Services regarding repeated coverage denials of female-male transitioning patients, the press release states.

"TransFamily Support Services is proud to partner with the California Department of Insurance to remove the age barrier for gender-affirming care," Kathie Moehlig said, Executive Director at TransFamily Support Services.

"This barrier was discriminatory and detrimental to the lives of trans youth. To have to navigate the overwhelming barriers to health care should not be a part of their experience. Transgender youth already face so many challenges from unsupportive families, bullying at school, social stigmas, and even violence," she continued.

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