Department of Insurance and Financial Services prohibits discrimination based on sex or gender

    LGBTQ+ Pride flags | Susan J. Demas

    The Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) issued a bulletin Tuesday to health insurers prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Equality Michigan Executive Director Erin Knott said that equitable access to health care is essential while the state continues its ongoing battle with COVID-19. 

    “Every person deserves fair and equal access to healthcare,” said in a statement. “In the middle of our current health crisis, it’s scary to think that people could be denied the medical care they need when they need it. LGBTQ+ Michiganders live with this fear even in the best of times, and that’s why we need to make sure no Michigander faces discrimination or is denied care simply because of who they are and whom they love.”

    The bulletin ensures that all financial service and insurance entities regulated by DIFS, including health insurance plans, cannot deny access, limit benefits, impose additional cost-sharing or engage in discriminatory marketing practices based on an individual’s sex, which includes gender identity and sexual orientation. 

    In June, The U.S. Supreme Court, in Bostock v Clayton County, Georgia, concluded that the term “sex” includes sexual orientation and gender identity and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the recommitment made by DIFS is a “critical step toward becoming a more equitable and just state by protecting individuals from discrimination when it comes to their health coverage or care.”

    Allison Donahue
    Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.