I have been quiet lately because of a lot of stress at work. Not specifically just because of the subject matter of this blog, but definitely that is a chunk of it.
I talked earlier of our EEO officer and her words she used for trans. I have to say 7 months later she is respectful about it. I suspect it was purely an education thing (as an African American woman there are cultural issues with LGBTA, but also an understanding).
So I talked to my EEO officer the day I posted about it. I brought up that our health insurance warned me they don’t cover trans care and it was on the feds side that the rider came from. She was concerned and she believes that the rider couldn’t be the fed side since Obama signed the executive order last summer. So I agreed to wait for the confirmation from my health insurance in writing.
Well today I got the notice and it says specifically that “At this time, FEHB plans are not subject to the transgender ruling issued by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC). Transgender services including hormone therapy, mental health counseling and surgical services continued to be non-covered for FEHB enrollees (as a sidenote, FEHB is the health insurance offered to Federal employees).
So, that clearly identified that Jello has non coverage, even with Obama’s Executive Order and with Washington State’s declaration. That is a good place to start. The next thing I did was call OIC themselves.
OIC completely agreed it was discrimination, however they have no authority over the Federal Government. They also confirmed that even if OPM (Office of Personnel Management, basically the head HR for the Feds) said it was an insurance company decision, that in fact it wasn’t and that the health insurance was only acting as an administrator.
Now, we were expecting this, we didn’t believe something like the Feds would voluntarily cover it (especially the DoD). We expected to have to come up with a medical loan for Jello’s coverage, but I am a white knight, and I won’t let this go. While FEHB might say they don’t cover, the Executive Order says they should, and my EEO officer says it should.
This means starting tomorrow I will issue an EEO complaint. I suspect it will get flushed somewhere, but I will move up the line like I am supposed to. I realize nothing may come of it, but I have no problem filing a discrimination lawsuit (I hope I don’t have to look for a lawyer, but I will if I have to).
I know I could slink out, take the debt and just pay it. In fact no matter what I may have to do that. The problem is I can’t let a problem go when I see it like this. Someone else may not be able to afford to take out a medical loan (and make large ass payments forever). It isn’t right they can’t get the care they want.
Oh, and a side note, a month or two ago Medicare approved it’s first surgical services for a Medicare recipient and someone sued the US Army for discrimination for being trans a couple months ago. So that gives me a bit of hope. Not enough to believe I will get anywhere, but enough to still want to push all the buttons and make a big fuss until it gets fixed.
I will keep you all updated.
Good luck!! Jello’s so lucky to have you. =]
It is admirable that you are taking the hard road – somebody has to get the process moving, and it’s going to be you!