RALEIGH, NC — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on Wednesday heard arguments in a North Carolina appeal that the state’s health insurance plan for public employees can exclude transgender health care coverage.
The lawsuit by the former state employees and their children said they were denied coverage under the North Carolina State Health Plan for hormone therapy, counseling and medical care related to gender transition.
In 2020, a lower court ruled that the state violated the rights of transgender employees by denying them insurance.
The state is represented by attorney John Naper. He said no one receives gender-affirming benefits and that transgender employees are asking for special treatment.
“Every beneficiary in North Carolina’s public health plan receives coverage for the same health risk,” Knepper said. “This is no less true for transgender plaintiffs, who receive the same coverage for every health risk.”
Senior attorney Tara Borrelli, who heads Transgender Legal Advocacy and Education, argued on behalf of several current and former government employees and their children. She explained why she disagreed with Knepper.
“That’s what’s wrong with it. Certainly, if a transgender person has a broken leg, the health plan will fix it,” Borelli said. “It doesn’t explain why they discriminate against transgender people in this very important way, denying them the same care and treatment that is taken for granted.”
Borelli said the current state health care plan makes a distinction between transgender and non-transgender people.
“It ignores the fact that it singles out transgender people for exclusion,” Borelli said. “They’re trying to pretend that eliminating the gender-affirming care transgender people need is ‘just treating everyone the same,’ but that’s not the case at all.
“It singles out transgender people and denies them the help they need.”
WRAL News has made several attempts to contact the state for comment, but has not yet heard back.
No time frame was given Wednesday for a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals to uphold or overturn the lower court’s decision.
NC transgender employees say state health plan is denying them the help they need
Source link NC transgender employees say state health plan is denying them the help they need