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Transgender Man Successfully Challenges Health Insurer Over Denial Of Treatment Coverage

A portrait of a person with a black cap on against a blue background.
Anthony Bopp

A transgender Seattle man has won his battle against an insurance company over his medical treatment. Anthony Bopp, who works in the produce section at a local QFC grocery store, has health coverage through Sound Health and Wellness Trust, but the insurer has been refusing to pay for routine treatment Bopp needs.

Bopp needs treatment, such as blood tests, related to his gender dysphoria, which is the medical term for someone whose gender identity doesn’t correspond with their assigned sex at birth.

Bopp says, at first, it didn’t seem like too big a burden.

“Basically, I would just pay for certain medications out of pocket or whatever. But  when they started denying routine tests and stuff like that it really kind of drove home, you know, that I have no idea what I’m going to have to pay for out-of-pocket,” Bopp said.

He says it made him angry because it seemed blatantly discriminatory. As KPLU's Gabriel Spitzer reported in June 2014, Washington's Insurance Commissioner mandates that insurers cover treatment for transgender people if those treatments, such as blood tests, are provided for non-transgender people.

With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Bopp challenged the insurer, based on  Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s mandate.

Sound Health and Wellness Trust backed down and will now cover Bopp’s treatment. Bopp takes testosterone prescribed by his doctor and receives regular blood tests to measure his testosterone, hematocrit and liver enzyme levels to ensure the levels are safe.

Insurers in Washington are still not required to cover sex reassignment surgery.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.