Health Insurance Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity Is Illegal

On June 29, 2020, the Commissioner of Insurance released a bulletin to insurers explaining that it is unlawfully discriminatory to exclude, limit or deny benefits to an insured based on gender identity.

As background, the bulletin highlights that per Wisconsin law, insurers cannot unfairly discriminate among policyholders by offering different terms of coverage (with an exception based on classifications related to the degree of risk). In addition, it is unlawful to deny coverage or refuse benefits on the basis of sex.

The bulletin explains that since gender identity is unrelated to degree of risk and denying coverage on the basis of gender identity is discriminatory on the basis of sex, excluding coverage for services (that is otherwise covered) based on gender identity is unlawfully discriminatory. Importantly, the bulletin further provides that such discrimination is also unlawful for self-funded, non-federal group health plans.

While the bulletin is directed at insurers, employers should be aware that gender identity discrimination is prohibited and confirm their policies are compliant with this guidance.

Nondiscrimination regarding Coverage for Insureds Who are Transgender or Gender Dysphoric »
Press Release »