BUSINESS INSIDER – Local Georgia officials refused to change a department’s health insurance plan to cover the [so-callled] gender-affirming surgery of a trans employee, citing cost as a reason.
But Georgia’s Houston County ended up paying a private law firm nearly $1.2 million to fight the employee in federal court, far more than the estimated $10,000 a year it would have cost to add transition-related care to the health plan, ProPublica reported.
And this month a federal judge ordered it to cover transition care for its employees.
“It was a slap in the face, really, to find out how much they had spent,” Anna Lange, the sheriff’s deputy who filed a federal discrimination lawsuit, said.
“They’re treating it like a political issue, obviously, when it’s a medical issue,” [Lange] said.
Lange came out as transgender in 2017, after working for the Houston County Sheriff’s Office for more than a decade, legal documents show.
[Lange] wanted to go ahead with gender-affirming surgeries but found out that the county’s health plan had exclusions, meaning that it would not cover the cost of the procedures.
Lange was able to use retirement funds and savings to pay for top surgery in 2018, but could not afford to pay for bottom surgery, which costs approximately $25,000, according to legal documents.
[Lange] sent letters to the insurance administrator and the county asking them to remove the health insurance plan exclusions in both 2018 and 2019, but her appeals were denied, ProPublica reported.
In early 2019, she went to the county board of commissioners’ meeting to ask it to remove the health plan’s exclusions …