BCBS of North Carolina to cover some gender-affirming surgeries

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Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina will now cover gender-affirming facial feminization surgeries for transgender patients, according to the Durham-based Duke University School of Law July 12.

The policy change comes after a legal team that included the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, two law firms and the law school's Health Justice Clinic convinced the payer to reclassify the procedure as medically necessary instead of cosmetic. 

"Across the country, health insurance companies are increasingly recognizing the need to end systemic denials of lifesaving gender-affirming health care for transgender people," TLDEF's Trans Health Project director, Noah Lewis, said in the article. "We are pleased that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has revised its medical policy to acknowledge that facial surgery is medically necessary when used to alleviate gender dysphoria in transgender people."

TLDEF's past efforts have resulted in Cigna and Aetna expanding coverage to include breast augmentation for transfeminine members in most of their commercial plans, the article said. 

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