A new law in Maryland requires Medicaid to cover “medically necessary” gender-affirming care for residents — including care well beyond hormones or surgery.
The law went into effect on January 1. It requires coverage for “gender-affirming treatment in a nondiscriminatory manner.”
Voice therapy and lessons, scar and hair removal, hormone therapy, puberty blockers, fertility preservation, and “alterations” to the abdomen, genitals, chest, buttocks, neck, and face are all included. Patients cannot be denied unless a healthcare professional decides the treatment would be detrimental to their health.
“In the state of Maryland, nobody should have to justify their own humanity,” Gov. Wed Moore (D) said while signing an executive order protecting gender-affirming care at a Pride event last year.
“This order is focused on ensuring Maryland is a safe place for gender-affirming care, especially as other states take misguided and hateful steps to make gender-affirming care cause for legal retribution,” Moore added. “In Maryland, we are going to lead on this issue.”
Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller (D) said the order shows that “This administration is saying to all LGBTQIA+ Marylanders: You deserve to be your authentic selves, during Pride month and every month. You deserve to live safely, openly, and freely; and receive the gender-affirming care you need.”
Lee Blinder, Executive Director of Trans Maryland, said, “This legislation emerged from the trans community experiences shared with our organization at Pride festivals and support groups around Maryland about barriers of access to care,. We are grateful to every individual who worked toward passing this groundbreaking bill. Thanks to the Moore-Miller Administration, Maryland is a sanctuary state for transgender people, and we will continue to work closely with the Administration to ensure expansion of access continues.”
Renee Lau, a state resident who started transitioning about five years ago, told CBS News, “I plan on having some surgeries and having consultations within the next two months. I would not believe the relief it is for me, because I never could have paid for [these services] out of pocket.”
Gender-affirming care is considered safe and essential to the well-being of trans people by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and other major U.S. and world health organizations.