QUEER VOICES
12/12/2014 02:48 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

New York Will Now Mandate Insurance Cover Surgeries For Transgender Men Like This One

Andrew Cuomo (NY-D.) sent a letter to insurance companies yesterday mandating they cover surgeries for transitioning patients, provided a doctor judges it necessary.

This amendment will protect New Yorkers like Lee Albertorio, a transgender man with diagnosed Gender Identity Disorder whose insurance hedged his claim for a mastectomy.

In a conversation with HuffPost Live on Friday, Albertorio recalled how his insurance considered his surgery to be "cosmetic" and that, while they told him he could appeal it, they admitted it'd "take a long time." In turn, the 30-year-old resigned himself to shouldering the cost himself.

"I just decided -- I was like, I need the surgery," he explained. "This is part of who I am. This is going to make me comfortable, so I decided to go ahead and pay out of pocket using student loans and credit cards because I just needed that to get done at the time."

"To [my insurance] it was just something I chose to do," he continued, referring to his mastectomy, "not something I had to do."

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Lee Albertorio above.

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