Teen Settles Top Surgery Case Against Kaiser Permanente

Teen Settles Top Surgery Case Against Kaiser Permanente

Photo from HealthPolicySolutions.org

A teenage college student from Colorado has settled an important civil rights case against Kaiser Permanente of Colorado. According to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, Miki Alexander Manigault suffered discrimination and unequal access to health care specifically because he is transgender.

While the details of the settlement are private, the ripple effect has produced two important victories:

  1. On the same day that the Commission announced their decision, Colorado’s Division of Insurance became the third U.S. state to specifically bar health insurance companies from discriminating against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
  2. Kaiser Permanente has agreed to work with the Commission to convene discussions among insurers regarding health care for transgender people.

LGBT advocates see this case as an important watershed event. It has already prompted one other known complaint to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, and may open the door to equal health care for all LGBT Americans.

“It’s the first one I know of related to health insurance. It sends a powerful signal that anti-discrimination protections do protect transgender individuals and that systems — including health systems — need to look within their (organizations) for discrimination and change that.” — Ashley Wheeland, health policy director and a staff attorney for One Colorado.

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