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Insurance Agrees To Cover Transgender Fraternity Brother’s Surgery

ht_transgender_donnie_collins_nt_130227_wg(Courtesy of Emerson College)

You may remember when the fraternity brothers of Phi Alpha Tau went on a mission to raise money for their brother, Donnie Collins, who was seeking to undergo chest reconstruction surgery. The surprise move came after Collins’ insurance denied approval of the surgery, leaving the 19-year-old FTM student without a way to cover the costs. Thankfully, we know what happened next.

However, Phi Alpha Tau wasn’t the only one to seek support for Collins. Emerson sought clarification from the college’s insurance provider on why it initial rejected the medical procedure. According to a statement released by officials, Aetna had not updated their internal documents to reflect the school’s benefits for transgender medical care. “This inaccuracy led to the rejection of coverage,” officials said.

Now, Collins is only responsible for a $2,000 co-pay and post-op care, relieving him of extensive debt. Meanwhile, following media attention, Phi Alpha Tau raised over $20,000 from supporters. The extra money will now be donated to the Jim Collins Foundation, a charity that grants money for sex reassignment surgery.

On:           Mar 14, 2013
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    • yaoming

      Did they originally “deny approval” or approve denial?

      Mar 15, 2013 at 1:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cee

      It’s sad when I just watched a documentary about insurance companies denying treatment to people with diseases. One woman’s husband had something with his kidneys. Long story short, he did die. On the flip side you have insurance companies helping people get sex changes. This is happening a lot, and now I’m hearing about cases where transgender prison inmates are being granted sex change surgeries by the state. So, not only are private insurance companies now covering sex change surgeries, but so are the states. But people with diseases are dying because they can’t get the treatment they need. Something is VERY wrong.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 2:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hamoboy

      @Cee: Your logic is ass backawards. The way you are presenting the issue is as if the sex change surgeries somehow blocked the kidney transplant and other cases of insurance neglect. That is not so. Instead of insinuating that there is some sort of zero-sum game and that sex changes deserve to lose that game, you should be campaigning for ALL surgeries and procedures to receive better and more prompt coverage from insurance companies.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 4:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hamoboy

      *backwards. Goddamnit queerty can’t we have an edit function?

      Mar 15, 2013 at 4:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 2eo

      @hamoboy: No because that would make me look [more?] like a violent, abusive mentalist.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 4:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TinoTurner

      This is bullshit. I’ve had more then one friend be denied from insurance for minor things, i.e sleep apnea. I’m sorry but being transgendered is a mental disease and can not be cured by getting your weiner cut off or sown back on. Its not my opinion…its also the opinion of the best hospital on the planet, Johns Hopkins. Before you slam me, google “Johns Hopkins Sex Change surgery” and read their reasoning for stopping the surgery. These people are damaged….they get mutiliated and they are worse off then they were before. Getting the surgery does NOT make everything better. As a small business owner with no frills, I know the value of insurance and how hard it is to get. Money should be spent on a shrink and not a penis.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 11:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ToptoBottomNYC

      @TinoTurner: No. No. Absolutely not. Everyone has the right to their own gender identity and everyone deserves to live in the body they feel they belong in. Just like therapy cannot make someone straight when they are born gay, it’s not going convince someone that they are female when they know deep down, despite the anatomy they were born with, that they are male. It repulses me when I see how many LGB folk spew so much hatred toward trans folk when really they just fight the same battles we do, but on a much grander scale. They deserve our love and support.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vklortho

      @TinoTurner: Various mental health professionals and the lived experience of many trans people seem to suggest that you are full of crap. You do not speak for us and until you have felt the crushing despair brought on by GD you never will speak for us. Hormones and FFS have made my life SIGNIFICANTLY better. Even with just that I have went from a person who numbly wandered through life hoping for death to claim them yet too cowardly to end it themself, to a very positive and socially well adjusted human being with clear goals and a future. You better believe I will be getting SRS when my time is near and when I have the money/insurance necessary to make it happen. Transitioning is literally the best decision I have ever made in my life.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Thedrdonna

      I always love the idea that if we deny help to some set of people, then other people will do better. I’m absolutely positive that if the insurance company saved that money on trans-related expenses, they would turn around and provide other services like sleep apnea treatments! Oh, wait, that’s not how for-profit enterprises work? How bizarre! Do, tell me more!

      Mar 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cee

      @hamoboy: No. That is not the way I presented it and that is not what I said. Your assumptions and interpretation of what I said is incorrect.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 2:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vklortho

      @Cee: There is a very practical reason why trans inmates would have SRS covered by the state. Housing a pre-op trans woman in a woman’s facility or housing a trans woman(regardless of op status) in the men’s facility raises A LOT of controversy with different groups. A post-op trans woman in a women’s facility is very uncontroversial and I imagine the cost of SRS is less than the cost of the major s***storm that would occur otherwise.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TinoTurner

      @ToptoBottomNYC: Why don’t you research the rate of suicide of the trans community AFTER they receive the surgery. DO IT and then tell me I’m wrong.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vklortho

      @TinoTurner: The trans community has a very high suicide rate regardless of op status. The majority of that is due to abandonment by friends or family or the hardships that can occur when someone doesn’t pass. If anything the satisfaction numbers on SRS itself is incredibly high, but just because someone is happy with their genitals doesn’t mean they can’t be driven to suicide by a world full of some incredibly horrible people.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • TinoTurner

      @vklortho: Exactly…which is why they need THERAPY and not surgery to mutilate themselves. Ever see that South Park episode where Mr. Garrison gets a sex change? He realizes that even though he has a vagina and boobies….he is NOT and NEVER will be a woman. Its not a real surgery. I wish no harm to anyone but getting your genitalia cut off does not change what you were born.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 2:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • vklortho

      @TinoTurner: That episode is strawman BS. Issues such as someone’s anxiety over not passing or their reaction to a hostile world might best be served by psychiatrists, but GD itself doesn’t get talked away. Also I think you underestimate everything that goes into transition in addition to post transition socialization. When someone transitions they often undergo hormone therapy which along with other factors make great changes towards making the person’s body align with their mind. I mean if someone (via HRT) looks like a woman, is treated by most people in society as a woman, and as a result socializes and is in turn socialized as woman then doesn’t that make them a woman? Women are more than a second X chromosome and an incubator for babies.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MickeyP.

      Wow,some people! WTH? Gay people get so pissed when there is even a hint of bigotry,yet the same people act like bigots,when it comes to transgendered people! What the hell is that? That is so hypocritical! ALL of us are fighting to be who we are.It pisses me off when this happens. And to call someone mentally impaired that is transgendered,is horrible! They say that about US,too! It wasn’t that long ago that being gay was considered a mental illness! What is wrong with people? I sure as hell don’t get it! Everyone of us is fighting our own battles! How can you possibly feel the way you do? Just…wow!

      Mar 15, 2013 at 4:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MickeyP.

      @TinoTurner: YOU are a total hypocrite! Go crawl back,under your rock and stay away from people!

      Mar 15, 2013 at 4:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MickeyP.

      @ToptoBottomNYC: Thank you,exactly what I said! WTF!

      Mar 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • L

      I’m from the UK where being transgender is not classified as a mental health issue but a birth condition. The Dutch have done some important research to identify that in trans people the hypothalamus is of the gender they believe they are. The hypothalamus in the brain is often called the master hormone as it controls hormone function. A person achieves homeostasis when the brain and body work to agreed controls. This is impossible in a trans person as evidenced by the Dutch research. In a nutshell imagine about a billion different arguments a day between your brain and your body about how to function, it leads to a considerable amount of dysfunction and stress. The brain uses all available resources to get you to function healthily including use of the outside world, so having boobs cos other women do is about survival not aesthetics in a trans woman. The condition isn’t slight at all its huge and trans people who survive such an imbalance are strong people who really don’t deserve such irrational hate on top of everything else. As a student of biochemistry I have incredible respect for anyone who can survive such an ordeal and such pathetic bigotry as on here makes me really sad. Although the strength of the trans community counteracts that and makes me proud

      Mar 15, 2013 at 6:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • L

      P.s but I do respect the people on here in support of trans of course!

      Mar 15, 2013 at 6:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr

      @L: Thanks for that clarification, not necessary but appreciated. I am a gay man who loves and supports his trans brothers and sisters. Trans-phobia (and Bi-phobia) among gays and lesbians always bugs the heck out of me.

      Mar 15, 2013 at 11:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dana

      @Thedrdonna, might I suggest you get off your ass and go lobby insurance companies to include coverage for sleep apnea?

      Mar 18, 2013 at 7:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Thedrdonna

      @Dana: Well, I’m not the one going on the sleep apnea boards and telling them that they shouldn’t get health treatment because of dubious claims that somehow they’re preventing trans folks from getting needed medical treatments. But you just go on ahead and keep pretending that my statement meant anything like that.

      Mar 18, 2013 at 11:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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