Georgia taxpayers will now pay state employees and teachers to get sex changes.
The changes may also allow minors obtaining treatment in other states to be covered, even though hormones and sex change operations are banned in Georgia for those under 18.
The State Health Benefit Plan was sued by several state employees who alleged that they were victims of illegal discrimination because their coverage did not include “gender-affirming care.”
On Thursday, the plaintiffs asked the Atlanta federal court to dismiss the case, as they had settled with the state Department of Community Health, which oversees the plans.
“There’s no justification, morally, medically, legally or in any other way for treating transgender health care as different and denying people access to it,” David Brown, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told Scripps News.
The lawsuit cited the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and argued that the state’s insurance cannot discriminate on the basis of sex.
According to the report, “The state will also pay a total of $365,000 to the plaintiffs and their lawyers as part of the settlement. Micha Rich, Benjamin Johnson and an anonymous state employee suing on behalf of her adult child all said they spent money out of their own pockets that should have been covered by insurance.”
In July, Georgia banned hormone therapy and sex change surgery procedures for minors. They can still get puberty blockers and minors who had began hormone therapy before the prohibition can continue to be prescribed them.
Scripps reports, “But Brown said Thursday’s settlement requires the health plan to pay for care deemed medically necessary for spouses and dependents as well as employees. That means the health plan could be required to pay for care for minors outside the state even though it’s prohibited in Georgia.”
“The plan can’t treat the care any differently from other care that’s not available in the state,” Brown said.