MetLife Denied Her Disability Claim For Trans Surgery. Then It Voluntarily Reversed Course

MetLife Denied Her Disability Claim For Trans Surgery. Then It Voluntarily Reversed Course

Mariel Addis convinced MetLife to cover her recovery from transgender surgery. (Courtesy Mariel Addis)

The MetLife Building in Manhattan (Richard Drew/AP)

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After initially denying the disability claim of a trans person from Massachusetts who underwent #genderconfirmation surgery, @MetLife reversed their decision. Learn why: http://bit.ly/2UdopGo by @mbebinger for @WBUR
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 10:30am

CAMPAIGN: Corporate Responsibility

CONTENT: Article

Addis talked to the human resources representative at the grocery store where she worked at the time as cashier. She decided to apply for the disability coverage anyway, hoping a note from her doctor that explained why the surgery was medically necessary would sway the company. But two weeks after surgery, a denial letter arrived from MetLife, one of the nation's largest disability insurers.

Addis called GLAD, also known as GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, and attorney Ben Klein wrote to MetLife, expecting that his letter would be the first step on the road to a lawsuit.

“More often than not, when we see a discriminatory policy by an insurance company, they don’t change it. They dig in and want to litigate. So I assumed that was the path we were going down,” Klein said.

To Klein’s surprise, that’s not what happened.

Instead, MetLife sent Addis a check for her time out of work and responded to Klein, saying the company recognized GLAD's concerns and would eliminate the trans surgery exclusion, not just for Addis, but for millions of policy holders.

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