A state legislative librarian is suing the State of Alaska because the State’s insurance plan will not cover his sex change surgery from man to woman, which he/she says is medically necessary.
Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit on Fletcher’s behalf, saying, “Jennifer Fletcher was denied coverage for medically necessary treatment specifically because she is transgender. This is unlawful and stigmatizing discrimination that jeopardizes the health of hardworking state employees.”
Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn in a press release today said, “The state employee health care program – AlaskaCare – covers medically necessary treatment for all state employees except transgender employees. That’s textbook discrimination by any standard,” he said.
“All that I am asking is that the State of Alaska stop discriminating against people like myself,” Fletcher said in the press release. “My coworkers are able to receive coverage for their care, but coverage for transition-related care is denied. This sends a clear message that the State does not value me, and does not consider me equal to its other employees, by forcing me to pay out of pocket for my medically necessary care. How is this not discriminatory, when equivalent care is routinely provided to other state employees?”
Fletcher, 36, lives in Juneau and has worked for the State of Alaska since 2012. She was promoted to legislative librarian in 2014. Born in Wyoming, he attended Juneau-Douglas High School.
“Assigned male sex at birth, she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in 2014,” the press release stated. “In consultation with health care professionals, Fletcher started hormone therapy and transitioned to living openly as the woman that she is.”
The AlaskaCare plan contains a blanket exclusion of transition-related surgical treatment
“Because of the exclusion, Fletcher had to pay out of her own pocket for surgical treatment in 2017,” Lambda said.
Beginning in 2018, the AlaskaCare plan began covering transition-related hormone therapy, but still doesn’t pay for sex-change surgery, “even though it can also be medically necessary,” the organization stated.
Lambda Legal says the State of Alaska is violating the sex discrimination prohibition of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and calls the health insurance plan’s decision is irrational.
Attorney Eric Croft is Fletcher’s in-state attorney.