Thursday, June 8, 2023
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State worker suing for sex-change surgery health insurance coverage

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.”

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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.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. Did you check with your provider before you started the process to see what is covered?

  2. Do you mean, “Did you check with your maker before you started the process of destroying your body in a most selfish act?”

    • No, I ment what I said. If he/ she has insurance there is a book provided that outlines coverage. Simple. But this sound elective and not “medically necessary.”

  3. I work for an organization that would not pay for my vasectomy. It was their choice, so I ended up paying for it out of my own pocket. If it was that important to me that someone else pay for it, I would have quit and went to work somewhere else. While I believe that if you are sick there is a moral obligation you should receive care, that should not apply for ELECTIVE surgery.

  4. Recall the “Chugiak-Eagle River Star” article three days ago: “Family overwhelmed by support as Eagle River woman fights for her life in a Seattle hospital”.
    Kristin Bozarth, mother of two, is in desperate need of a heart transplant –and $1.4M plus to pay for it.
    Then there’s our “Jennifer Fletcher” in desperate need of a sex change operation –and somebody to pay for it.
    May one offer to “Jennifer Fletcher” in a loving way, so as not to lose one’s privilege to post at “Must Read Alaska”: Stuff your lawsuit. If you too are looking for overwhelming support, keep looking.

  5. The World was a better place, and health insurance one Helluva lot cheaper, when we didn’t cover mental illness at all. If your plumbing is on the outside, you’re a man. If you think differently, you’re mentally ill.

  6. Quick!! Somebody call Charles Wohlforth at ADN……….this is a “twofer” for him…………transgender discrimination and unreasonable medical care!

  7. As a State of Alaska retired employee, I do not believe transgender surgery is a medical necessity. Certainly, if it is that important in a transgendered person they should expect to pay out of pocket.

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