ATHENS, Ga. (CBS46)- There is a federal court battle over healthcare coverage for a transgender employee at the University of Georgia.
Transcend Legal filed a lawsuit against UGA and Blue Cross Blue Shield saying 31-year-old Skyler Musgrove is being denied coverage for medically necessary care.
Musgrove’s attorney said this sends the message that transgender people are not welcome at the university.
They’re not just hoping to win this case for Musgrove but the entire transgender community.
“We are here to challenge the exclusion for all transgender related healthcare in the University System of Georgia Employee Health Plan,” said Noah Lewis, the Executive Director of Transcend Legal.
Skyler Musgrove is a University of Georgia employee. He said he was denied healthcare under a specific exclusion for transgender related healthcare.
“I was devastated, I was upset, it honestly put me into probably some of the worst bouts of depression I’ve ever experienced,” said Musgrove.
Musgrove’s attorney said transgender related healthcare is covered by many major medical organizations.
“Why did they choose to single out transgender related healthcare for exclusion given that it is recognized as medically necessary by the American Medical Association, the IRS, the American Psychological Association, and every credible medical authority,” Lewis added.
He said Musgrove would have been covered if it weren’t for an explicit exclusion for transgender related healthcare.
“I’m just trying to access care that I need, that a community needs, to have our lives be fully functional and happy,” Musgrove said.
“We just want the university to get rid of the exclusion,” added Lewis.
Lewis said the university has not offered an explanation for the exclusion.
CBS46 reporter, Melissa Stern, contacted the University System of Georgia, but was told they do not comment on pending litigation.
“Given that there is no legitimate non-discriminatory basis for the exclusion, we can only assume that it’s due to the historical stigma against transgender people,” said Lewis.
Lewis said transgender people have a higher rate of attempted suicide when they can’t access care, among other health problems associated with not treating gender dysphoria.
“Skylar is not the only employee who’s facing this issue, but he’s the one who’s had the courage to step forward and sue his employer to stand up for everyone else who is being denied care under this plan,” Lewis said.
The case is moving forward.
The university has an opportunity to settle this case outside of court before the judge issues a final verdict.