A split panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has affirmed the ruling of a federal district court in a federal anti-discrimination law case involving transgender healthcare rights. The Court found that a Georgia county’s health insurance plan violated Title VII when it denied a plan participant coverage for gender-reassignment surgery. The case is Anna Lange v. Houston County, Georgia, et al., case number 22-13626, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

The Eleventh Circuit’s decision allows the lower Court’s permanent injunction to remain in place, which prevents Houston County, GA, and its sheriff from enforcing the exclusion in its health plan for gender-reassignment surgery. That Court also specifically directed the county to process any previously denied claims related to Lange’s surgery, bypassing the county’s last-ditch attempt to avoid covering the surgery in March 2023 while the appeal was pending.

Relying on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that a health insurance plan may be liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for “denying coverage for gender-affirming care to a transgender employee because the employee is transgender.” The Court also found no abuse of discretion in the lower Court’s issuance of a permanent injunction against the health insurance plan exclusion. The district court had granted summary judgment in favor of Lange in her federal discrimination lawsuit and awarded her $60,000 in emotional damages.

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