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Religious exemption language added to gender-affirming care bill

A religious exemption has been added to a bill that would guarantee health insurance coverage for gender-affirming care.

Sponsored by Rep. Leigh Finke (DFL-St. Paul), HF2607, as amended, would prohibit health plans from excluding coverage for medically necessary gender-affirming care. Medically necessary care consists of procedures and treatments that help restore or maintain a person’s health or prevent deterioration of a person’s condition.

Under the amended bill, organizations eligible for a religious exemption would have to be organized as a nonprofit religious entity or a closely held for-profit entity that has adopted a religious objection resolution.

The House Health Finance and Policy Committee laid the bill over Thursday for possible inclusion in a larger proposal. 

Organizations with the religious exemption would have to inform employees of their stance when the employee enrolls in its health plan. The health plan company would have to provide separate payments for any health benefits required to be covered under Minnesota statutes.

An amendment offered by Rep. Danny Nadeau (R-Rogers) that would have articulated that de-transitioning is covered, failed on a party-line vote.

Several organizations submitted letters to the committee either in favor of, or against, the bill.

Finke said gender-affirming care is covered by Minnesota statute but she wants to ensure “all gaps are closed.”

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