A Big Win for Trans Health Care Rights

A Win for Trans Health Care in Tovar v. Essentia

Today we announced a successful resolution of the lawsuit on behalf Reid Olson, to make sure that health care plans cover gender confirming care. Olson’s mother, Brittany Tovar, initiated the lawsuit in 2016 against Essentia Health and its employee health plan administrator, HealthPartners.

The parties reached a settlement in which Essentia and HealthPartners agree to continue to provide and cover appropriate gender confirming health care as established by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH).

Essentia and HealthPartners will also develop a seminar for continuing medical education on trans health care for providers in Greater Minnesota. Consistent with its other efforts, HealthPartners will create a Center of Excellence for trans health care, offering a network of clinicians and coordination of care throughout the transition process. HealthPartners will meet with Olson to learn more about his experience, and get his input on improving coordination of care.

This is a great success for the promise of the ACA that no one may be discriminated against in the health care market on the basis of sex. Before this lawsuit, gender confirming care was regularly excluded from health care plans. But thanks in large part to Reid and Brittany, who courageously fought for this health care coverage, this will no longer be the norm.

In September 2018, the U.S. District Court for Minnesota agreed with Gender Justice’s argument that the Affordable Care Act’s Section 1557 - a first-of-its-kind provision banning discrimination in health care based on sex - extends to transgender and gender non-conforming people and requires health care plans to cover gender confirming care.

“HealthPartners and Essentia recognize the critical importance of providing and covering gender confirmation care, and worked with us to come to an agreement that protects the rights of transgender people across Minnesota – an especially urgent need given the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back the ACA’s non-discrimination provisions.”

Thank you for your support and solidarity through this case. With you by our side, we were able to make a real difference for transgender people all over who are seeking gender confirming care.