Minnesota Federal Court Affirms Protections for Trans Health Care and Insurance Coverage in Tovar and Olson v. Essentia and Health Partners
The U.S. District Court for Minnesota earlier today issued a ruling in Brittany Tovar and Reid Olson v. Essentia Health and Health Partners, Inc., affirming that Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - a first-of-its-kind provision banning discrimination in health care based on sex - extends to transgender and gender non-conforming people.
“Today’s ruling affirms what we’ve long known, that discrimination based on gender identity is discrimination based on sex, and it is against the law,” said Gender Justice Staff Attorney Christy Hall. “Judge Frank sent a clear and powerful message with this ruling, adding to the growing foundation of case law from across the country that says Section 1557 of the ACA is rightly interpreted as protecting transgender and gender non-conforming people. We are so proud to stand with Brittany Tovar and Reid Olson in this fight to ensure equal access to health care.“
Attorneys with Gender Justice represented plaintiffs Brittany Tovar and her son Reid Olson in their lawsuit against Tovar’s former employer, Essentia Health, and its employee health plan administrator, HealthPartners, following their denial of coverage for health care treatment and services for Olson’s gender dysphoria.
“By denying health care coverage for treatment that was not only warranted but prescribed by a doctor, Essentia and HealthPartners clearly discriminated against my son and violated the law,” said plaintiff Brittany Tovar. “Their decisions have enormous, real-life implications for transgender people like my son. As a nurse and a mother, I see first-hand the effects when people can’t get the health care they need. I am so proud of Reid for having the courage to move forward with a very public lawsuit in order to bring about change. He makes me a better person.”
Plaintiff Reid Olson adds, “I am hopeful that today’s ruling goes a long way toward ending disparities in health care access and outcomes for transgender people and others. I love my mom dearly and couldn’t have possibly made this happen without her. Her support drove this case, and I’m ecstatic to have played our part in making the world more loving and understanding.”
Together, we’re ending transgender health care discrimination! #TransCareNow