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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Iowa Department of Corrections transgender employee wins case after being denied insurance coverage


By Charmaine Little | Oct 21, 2019


A recent transgender employee’s win in his insurance complaint against his employer may be just the beginning for lawsuits filed by transgender workers.

Jesse Vroegh, a transgender man who worked for the Iowa Department of Corrections, prevailed in his lawsuit after he took issue with being denied coverage under the department’s health insurance plan, according to Benefits Pro. Vroegh was awarded $120,000 in damages.

Other similar lawsuits have been filed or have also experienced success in the courtroom. A Houston County, Georgia transgender woman sued her employer earlier this month after she was denied coverage for her gender-affirmation surgery.

The University of Georgia also recently settled an insurance exclusion claim for gender-affirmation surgery with Skyler Jay, whose claim to fame is his appearance on Netflix’s “Queer Eye.” He was awarded $100,000 in damages, and the university updated its employee health plan to include transgender care.

The Affordable Care Act bars health insurance providers from discriminating because of gender identity. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also has similar regulations.

John Knight of the American Civil Liberties Union said, as reported by Benefits Pro, said “Ultimately, what’s happening is that, politically, I presume they think it’s unpopular or they think they have to defend.”

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