recently approved a decision by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
Michigan to eliminate coverage for sex-reassignment surgery,
sparking outrage among a coalition of groups.
As the state's insurer
of last resort, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan is
required to cover those who cannot otherwise obtain coverage.
The insurer said the decision to discontinue coverage
of sex-reassignment surgery was based on market
analysis that showed their competitors do not offer the
When the decision was
approved by the state in February, officials acknowledged it
was "unfortunate," according to the
They noted, however, that the law does not regard
sex-reassignment surgery as a necessary part of medical care.
Professional groups such as the American Medical Association
uphold the surgery as necessary.
The newly formed
Michigan Coalition for Gender Equality decried the change.
"We are concerned
that BCBSM underestimates the profound impact of these
medically necessary procedures," said spokesman
Andre Wilson. "Gender-reassignment surgeries can be
a critical part of the transition process and these new
exclusions will place many transgender individuals and their
families at real risk."