The University of Arkansas System has suspended gender transition health care coverage for employees that was slated to start this year under the Affordable Care Act.
To comply with rules added to the federal health care law last year, university officials decided to implement coverage for “gender dysphoria” beginning Jan. 1, 2017, according to an email sent to employees.
The term is used by national medical associations for people who experience distress about the sex they were assigned at birth but with which they no longer identify.
But in December, a Texas judge issued a preliminary injunction against the regulation that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in health care, saying it violates existing law.
Citing that decision, officials wrote in an email to staff that the university "will suspend gender dysphoria coverage pending the final legal outcome of the injunction or further clarification of the ACA coverage guidelines.”
The plan will cover services received on or before March 6 of this year, the email noted.
Uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act is “challenging for both health plans and for plan participants,” especially with issues such as gender-dysphoria that involve long-term treatment, the email stated.
UA spokesman Nate Hinkel said the university's human resources department manages the changes to the plans.
He said he did not have an exact estimate on the number of the employees who could be affected. The university system includes six universities, five two-year colleges and seven other affiliated institutions, according to its website.
Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.