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Gender-affirming care just became more accessible in Maryland

Wes Moore

Medicaid must now cover “medically necessary” gender-affirming care procedures in Maryland.

Medicaid must now cover “medically necessary” gender-affirming care procedures in Maryland after a new bill went into effect last week.

HB 283 requires coverage for “gender-affirming treatment in a nondiscriminatory manner,” including for hormone therapies and puberty blockers, voice therapy and lessons, and “alterations” to the chest, abdomen, face, neck, buttocks, and genitals. It also covers scar and hair removal treatment.

The legislation also “prohibits the issuance of an adverse benefit determination related to gender-affirming treatment unless a certain experienced health care provider has reviewed and confirmed the appropriateness of the determination.” In other words, patients cannot be denied gender-affirming care unless medical professionals find that the treatment would be detrimental to their health. Gender-affirming care is widely cited as being beneficial to the mental and physical health of transgender people.

Related: Trans healthcare, abortion, & more: These are the LGBTQ+ laws that took effect January 1

Democratic Gov. Wes Moore signed the bill into law in May, 2023, at the same time he signed other legislation which solidified protections for abortion and reproductive rights, as well as established an adult-use cannabis market.

“Today, we further strengthened our leave no one behind vision by protecting individual freedoms, solidifying reproductive rights, expanding access to healthcare, and creating an adult-use cannabis market that directly benefits those that were disproportionately affected by the war on drugs,” Moore said in a statement at the time. “Here in Maryland we are committed to righting the wrongs of the past and protecting the rights of all Marylanders in the future."

The law went into effect on January 1, 2024, making Maryland the 26th state (including Washington D.C.) to cover transgender healthcare, according to the Movement Advancement Project.

“While other states are dead set on ripping away reproductive rights and attempting to erase the existence of trans and nonbinary individuals, we’re doing the opposite: We’re making Maryland a state that is welcoming, inclusive, and that safeguards the rights of all people," said Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a staff writer at the Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel 'Someone Else's Stars', and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.