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'Gender affirming care' added as essential health benefit to health insurance plans

Colorado will add gender affirming care and substance abuse treatment as essential health benefits.

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis, joined by state and federal officials, announced Tuesday that "gender affirming care" and substance abuse treatment will be added as essential health benefits to health insurance for the small group and individual markets, effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Colorado becomes the first state in the nation to make gender services an insurance mandate. Commissioner of Insurance Michael Conway estimated the additional premium cost for those services at about 64 cents per person.

Gender-affirming care is defined as "mental and physical health services that help align a transgender person’s body into alignment with their gender identity," according to the Polis administration.

The additional benefits have been approved by the Biden-Harris administration, according to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), who joined Polis for the announcement. 

> Watch the full announcement:

Brooks-LaSure said, "Gender affirming care can be life-saving. By making this care essential, the benchmark plan will guide what is included in health coverage statewide. This expansion is a model for other states to follow and we invite other states to follow suit ... we are proud to stand along Colorado as they take this step toward health equality."

>Read more at Colorado Politics. 

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