Accepting the widespread demand, Aetna will now cover breast augmentation for trans women. The move is set to increase healthcare access to the transgender community. One of the largest payers in the country with about 22 million members, Atena has been so far offering breast removal surgeries. It earlier did not extend cover to breast augmentation. The policy changed was announced this week with consideration that breast augmentation is medically necessary rather than cosmetic surgery for certain transgender.
- The expansion was the result of a collaboration between Aetna, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, civil rights law firm Cohen Milstein and several transgender Aetna beneficiaries.
- “My hope is that being part of this groundbreaking collaboration helps other transgender and non-binary people have access to the healthcare we deserve,” said Nancy Menusan, one of the four trans women who approached the payer, in a news release. “By dropping exclusions for medically-necessary care like top surgery, Aetna is paving the way and setting an example for other health insurance providers, and I hope others will take note.”
- Though there are US health insurers that cover breast augmentation for trans women, they tend to be among the smaller payers, said Noah Lewis, trans health project director at the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. Aetna is now one of the few major insurers in the country to cover the surgery, along with Health Care Service Corporation. “Here we see an insurance company being proactive about ensuring that trans people have equal access to healthcare,” Lewis said.
- The Trump presidency spelled a great deal of uncertainty for the community, Lewis said. But a Supreme Court ruling issued in June 2020 stated that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender is breaking the law.
- The administration of President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order stating that his administration will “fully enforce Title VII and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation.”