According to The Washington Post, the change will occur on Jan. 1, 2023. After that, many private health insurance plans will be asked to cover transition-related procedures like hormone therapy and genital reconstructive services.
It signifies the first time the federal government has approved such a demand for private health insurance. In more than a dozen states, including Colorado, such services must be covered under Medicaid plans.
In approving the plan, Biden officials cited discrimination facing transgender patients and announced that the Colorado choice would work as a road map for other states looking to include such coverage in the future.
"They also said the approval helps fulfill the president's campaign pledge to expand access to coverage for LGBTQ Americans, including requiring insurers to cover care related to transitions," wrote The Washington Post.
"Colorado's taking a very important step," announced Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. "Transgender [people] face discrimination on a constant basis. And it is, to some degree, intensified by the inability for transgender Americans to get the health care services they need."
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, and other officials are supposed to make the official announcement in Denver on Tuesday.
The new coverage for transition-related procedures would require Colorado health programs to provide "gender-affirming care" to their customers.
According to The Washington Post, the change in coverage is authorized "under a Trump-era policy that allows states to request modifications to their health insurance markets governed by the Affordable Care Act."
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced in a statement on Tuesday that the department "recognizes that expanded, gender-affirming coverage vastly improves health-care outcomes for the LGBTQ+ community, reduces high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide attempts as well as decreases substance use, improves HIV medication adherence, and reduces rates of harmful self-prescribed hormone use."
According to One Colorado, an LGBTQ advocacy organization, a lot of private health plans tend to include transition-related services like hormone therapy. However, a November 2020 study conducted by Out2Enroll, an organization that helps the LGBTQ community get health insurance, discovered that many of the plans sold through the federal government's HealthCare.gov site declined to specify whether they covered care of transgender patients.