OPINION PIECE BY LINDA SUTTER
Have you received your CALPERS PERS CHOICE, aka Anthem Blue Cross insurance booklet in the mail? Most times I throw it in the garbage or burn it in the woodstove. But today something told me to read the 120 page booklet to see what my health insurance plan covered.
I was shocked to learn that if a woman wanted to be a man or a man wanted to be a woman, the transgender reassignment surgery was covered under our plan. Yep folks Blue Cross will cover up to $24,000 for a man to become a woman; and up to $50,000 for a woman to become a man (including penile implant). But wait there is more. On page 48 of this booklet there are Travel Benefits for Gender Reassignment Surgery which include round trip coach airfare to the facility which is designated by Anthem Blue Cross and approved for the sex reassignment not to exceed $250.00 per person per trip. Also hotel accomodations are not to exceed $100 per day for 21 days limited one room with double occupancy… oh, and meals are not to exceed $25.00 per day for each person for up to 21 days per trip. Wow. Really?
I researched this subject online and read a few articles, one from Washington D.C. justified this coverage as there are only 2 to 5 % of the general population who suffer from severe gender identity according to the DSM-IV manuel utilized by psychiatrist, and, Washington D.C did not want to discriminate against these gender confused people. Hmm, well I don’t want to discriminate against anyone either but it seems discriminatory to me that I suffer from varicose veins and due to the genetics in my family I have to go pay a doctor nearly $1000.00 to eliminate them every 7 years. The procedure is an elective just as the gender reassignment, however, I pay and the gender confused sufferer’s only pay 20% of their surgery. Oh but the argument here would be there is nothing in the psychiatric manuel that says you are suffering mentally from the varicose veins. Case Closed.
Equally discriminating is the fact that in order to have any reconstructive type of surgery according to our health plan booklet, an injury must have occurred or worse cancer. However, if you are a man and you want to be a woman let’s face it you have to get a breast augmentation, which is all paid for except your co-pay and 20%. So if breast augmentation is $10,000; that will cost the new woman $2,000.00. However if a woman wants to get a breast augmentation done, she must pay the full price out of her own pocket because the health insurance does not cover that procedure as it is an elective. UNLESS, you have a double masectomy and can get reconstructive surgery of course.
I have to see a chiropractor about every 6 weeks. I learned he was not a preferred provider. I called the insurance company. Their argument was, you need to drive to Cave Junction, Oregon, which is only 50 miles away. So, you want me to drive to Cave Junction to a doctor I don’t know because he is on the preferred provider’s list? I asked for an appeal. Well that worked for one visit now I have to write a letter to CALPERS and plead for my life that they will pay my chiropractor who keeps me out of the hospital from a bad back. I wonder if I claim transgender if that will change their minds… afterall they don’t want to discriminate.
I remember once while working for the State, if there was an issue and a statement needed to be made, the “flu” took care of it, everybody stuck together and called in with the flu. Maybe if everyone who worked for the State called into Blue Cross and started asking where they can get “gender reassignment” surgery, Blue Cross would suffer from rectum puckering, and would take this gender reassignment surgery off the necessary health benefit list.
Just a thought.