After months of advocacy by One Colorado and Colorado Consumer Health Initiative to address this critical issue, the Colorado Division of Insurance released a bulletin on March 19, 2013, stating that discrimination in health coverage based on sexual orientation — defined as heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or transgender status — is prohibited in Colorado.
This bulletin is a victory for the health of all Coloradans — no one should be denied health care services based on who they are. The bulletin ensures that in order to comply with existing Colorado law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status, health insurance plans sold in Colorado can no longer:
- Impose higher rates or charge more because of an applicant’s sexual orientation or transgender status.
- Use an individual’s sexual orientation or transgender status as a pre-existing condition for the purpose of limiting or denying coverage.
- Deny, exclude or limit coverage for medically necessary services as determined by an individual’s medical provider, if the same item or service would be provided — based on current standards of care — to another individual without regard to their sexual orientation or transgender status.
We can all agree that decisions about health care should be made between doctors and their patients — not by insurance industry executives. Ending these unfair policies that deny people access to medically necessary care is the right thing to do, and it reflects the core Coloradan value of fairness.