Houston County transgender deputy fights for healthcare
HOUSTON COUNTY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – A transgender police officer in Warner Robins is threatening a lawsuit against Houston County for not covering her transgender-related health care treatments.
Sergeant Anna Lange says county officials ignored her attorney’s request to talk about covering her treatments.
“When I was talking with individuals in the county, they basically said it’s not going to happen for quite some time because who’s in office,” Lange said.
In an effort to avoid a lawsuit, Sergeant Lange spoke out against the discrimination and the exclusion of life-saving, transgender-related health care in Houston County employee health plan.
“It’s just not a good feeling. I never experienced it until two to three years ago,” Lange said.
Sergeant Lange says that she was initially told that her treatments for gender dysphoria would be covered in November 2018. She says that she had a consultation with a surgeon. However, she received a letter saying preauthorization for surgery was denied due to a specific insurance carve-out.
She missed her scheduled surgery on January 31, 2019.
“When I originally came out to the county, it kind of mentioned in our EOC policy if there were any protections for gender identity. I was told there wasn’t anything like that,” Lange said.
Sergeant Lange Attorney Noah Lewis says he’s reached out to the Board of Commissioners and County Attorney Tom Hall for the exclusion to be removed. However, he has not received a response.
“We’ve tried to contact them by phone, we’ve tried to set up a meeting and they’ve just have not responded with anything. We want to avoid any kind of legal action. They can do this voluntarily. They can remove this exclusion voluntarily and help Anna get the health care that she needs,” Lewis said.
Attorney Lewis also says that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield provided a template plan to the county. The template includes transgender care exclusion.
The county chose to adopt the plan with the carve-out. It has the power to change the terms of the plan and remove it.