Beginning October 6, transgender individuals will be able to use their TRICARE health plan to get certain treatments covered. Just several months after lifting the ban on openly serving transgender troops, the Defense Dept has released a new policy which expands coverage for military transgender patients.
Beginning next month, the policy will cover mental health counseling and hormone therapy for “gender dysphoria.”
In TRICARE’s online policy manual, Gender Dysphoria is described as a condition where “a person experiences clinically significant distress, or impairment in social, occupational, or other important area of functioning, of at least six months duration, because of a marked incongruence between the gender assigned, usually at birth (i.e., natal sex) and their experienced/expressed gender identity.”
Under the new policy, military medical facilities will provide sex-change surgery only when deemed medically necessary. A DoD spokesman said TRICARE is prohibited by law from covering the procedure.
Hormone therapy coverage for children under 16 is also prohibited. The policy states that, “Because a diagnosis of gender dysphoria in a prepubertal child may resolve [a majority of childhood cases do not persist into adolescence], endocrine treatment of prepubertal children … is not authorized.”
Commanders are expected to receive a handbook on the new policy by Oct 1, officials said.
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