Two transgender women from the University of Wisconsin won their lawsuit against Wisconsin’s statewide ban on transgender insurance coverage this week.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the jury awarded $479,500 to Shannon Andrews, a cancer researcher at the UW School of Medicine and Health, and $301,000 to Alina Boyden, a UW graduate student, after a federal judge found Wisconsin’s ban on transgender health to be discriminatory.
As reported by the WSJ, the American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit last year on behalf of Andrews and Boyden, claiming Wisconsin’s ban on health care coverage for transgender state employees violated sections of the federal Civil Rights Act.
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According to the Group Insurance Board’s website, the Wisconsin GIB voted to end this ban in July 2016, but the state Department of Justice requested that the board reconsider, claiming they misinterpreted Title IX, the federal education law banning discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
After multiple contingencies were met, the GIB ended the coverage on Feb. 1 2017.
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Larry Dupuis, legal director for the ACLU of Wisconsin, told the WSJ the jury awards were given to Andrews and Boyden for medical expenses and emotional pain and suffering. Both women paid thousands of dollars for hormone therapy and surgeries.
The GIB voted in August to remove the ban of this coverage for the transgender community in a 5-4 vote. The coverage will take effect in Wisconsin on Jan. 1, 2019.