PORTLAND, OR – Today Meyer Stephenson announced a settlement on behalf of Alicia Ryder, a transgender woman whose employer-provided health insurance excluded coverage for medically necessary facial feminization surgery.
TriMet, Ms. Ryder’s employer for over 34 years, and its insurer, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, agreed to reverse the denials of the requested medically necessary surgery and pay damages to Ms. Ryder.
As part of the agreement, TriMet will prohibit Regence from its categorical denials related to the provision of transgender health services. As a result of this agreement transgender TriMet employees will have greater access to healthcare.
For years, Ms. Ryder has experienced significant distress from the incongruence between her female gender identity and her typically masculine facial features, which has exacerbated her gender dysphoria. In addition, due to her appearance, Ms. Ryder has been the target of hate crimes and intimidation by people angered by her gender expression. Consistent with the standards of care, Ms. Ryder’s treating physicians determined that facial feminization surgery is medically necessary. Ms. Ryder’s health insurance provider, Regence, repeatedly denied her requests for coverage because her health insurance policy categorically excluded coverage for facial feminization procedures. As a result of this agreement, Ms. Ryder and others will be provided the medically necessary treatment to which they are entitled.
“Oregon law has had strong legal protections for transgender people for many years,” said Talia Guerriero, Partner at Meyer Stephenson, “and we are pleased that those laws keep Oregon at the forefront of safeguarding the right of transgender employees to be free from discrimination at work, including in employment benefits.”
Oregon Discrimination Lawyer, Talia Guerriero
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