Feds: Medicare can’t auto-deny sex reassignment surgery

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The federal government says transgender people could now be eligible for sex re-assignment surgery under Medicare and it’s because of the fight of a New Mexico veteran.

Army veteran Denee Mallon, 74, sought reassignment surgery in 2012 and was denied.

She challenged the denial, and Friday the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ruled transgender people cannot be automatically denied coverage for the procedure.

That was happening under a 30-year-old rule that the appeals board says is no longer justified.

The cost of reassignment surgery ranges from $7,000 to $50,000 dollars.

Attorney’s representing transgender clients say the ruling does not mean Medicare recipients are automatically entitled to government paid surgery but can now seek authorization by submitting documentation from a doctor saying the surgery is recommended in their case.

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