On June 13, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) quietly released a “program carrier document” related to the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program (FEHB). The subject of the letter is “Gender Identity Disorder/Gender Dysphoria.”
The effect of the letter is to allow federal employee health insurance carriers to provide insurance for sex change operations and for expenses related to a sex change operation. OPM describes this as the need to provide health benefits consistent with each person’s individual medical status before and after gender transition. The OPM letter also states that OPM is removing the requirement that FEHB brochures exclude “services, drugs, or supplies related to sex transformations.”
According to the OPM letter, health insurance carriers cannot remain silent on the issue. Instead, carriers will have to propose one of two options:
- Remove the General Exclusion language and provide to OPM the specific brochure text that describes the covered components and limitations of care for the diagnosis; or
- Maintain the General Exclusion language for the 2015 plan year.
The federal government’s Medicare program also lifted a ban on sex-reassignment surgeries about two weeks ago.
The OPM letter is reproduced below.