Mother sues employer for denying coverage of son’s transgender surgery


Photo: Ted Eytan

A Washington state woman filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Catholic health organization she works for, saying it discriminated against her by refusing to pay for her child’s chest reconstruction surgery as the child transitions to be a boy.

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing Cheryl Enstad and her teenage son Pax, who allege PeaceHealth violated both Obamacare and state law in refusing to cover the treatment.

The mother worked as a medical social worker for PeaceHealth and received insurance coverage through her employer. When Pax was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, his doctor suggested he have chest reconstructive surgery. But when the pre-surgery authorization was submitted to PeaceHealth, the company denied the coverage, stating that it doesn’t cover “transgender services.”

“The Plan singles out transgender beneficiaries for unequal treatment by categorically depriving them of all medical care for gender dysphoria, regardless of whether those treatments are medically necessary,” read the complaint, filed U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

Ms. Enstad and her husband paid $10,000 out of pocket for her son’s medical services, which came out of his college fund, according to the complaint.

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