Woman wins battle forcing insurance company to pay for sex change

Ida Hammer 
By: Moses Gold 

After a long legal battle, a person in Queens, New York, won a battle against an insurance company, forcing them to pay for a sex change.

The Queens woman, who was trapped for 34 years in the body of a man, won the battle against an insurance company that refused to pay for the sex change operation.

Ida Hammer said she was ecstatic after MVP Health Care finally agreed to pay and is hoping to have the surgery as soon as possible.

"I never really was a boy," she said on Wednesday. "From an early age I always knew I was a girl. Unfortunately, that was not how others saw me," she said.

Hammer, who was raised as a conservative Mormon in Utah, and moved to New York, four years ago. Her parents have been very supportive of her just like her partner, who is a man.

"He already sees me as a woman," she said. "So this will not be too big of an adjustment."

Hammer’s Fight with MVP Health Care began in July 2011, when she requested permission for "gender reassignment surgery."

"My insurance company denied my claim on the grounds that it was cosmetic surgery," Hammer, who is a writer and activist, said. "My doctors determined that surgery was necessary, and the insurance company was second-guessing my doctors."

After Schenectady-based MVP Health Care denied her two appeals, Hammer turned to the Transgender Legal Defense Fund and Education, who threatened to sue on her behalf.

"The genital reassignment surgery is not designed to improve the appearance of Mrs. Hammer," wrote attorney Robert Goodman on September 10.

Hammer has a gender identity disorder, "a serious medical condition," according to the American Medical Association, which can lead to psychological problems and even death if not treated, Goodman wrote.

Ten days after Goodman sent his letter, MVP Health Care agreed to pay for the procedure.

"The requested operation is medically necessary," the company admitted.



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