Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Posted on March 3, 2016

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One of my favorite blogs, Neutrois Nonsense, has been featuring various guest bloggers and re-posts about something that has been in the back of my mind for years now and, with reading the series of blog posts, is pretty much at the front of my mind lately:

chest reconstruction surgery.

I haven’t talked much about my transition on this blog, and this post isn’t necessarily about my transition, because this surgery is something I want and need and will get sooner or later. That is not something I feel the need to rant about.

The problem which holds me back is: how to pay for it?

My original plan, cooked up when I was still a student and my family was living off my student loans, was that at some point I would be gainfully employed in a real job with good benefits, and surely, then, I’d be able to afford it?

Well, I’m now gainfully employed in a real job with good benefits–in the exact field I want to be working in. I could rave about how fantastic my workplace is, how great the people I work with are, how it’s everything I could ask for, my dream job, really.

There’s just one tiny problem: a transgender exclusion on my health insurance policy.

The Affordable Care Act is supposed to protect against discrimination, but so far, that hasn’t extended as far as being clearly enforceable against a blanket exclusion of transition-related medical procedures. Which means if I want insurance to pay for it, it’s going to be an uphill slog.

Dr. Meltzer (who is local, which would save a lot of time and travel expense, and who I’m confident knows his stuff) charges $11,000 for this surgery.

Before I can get surgery, I need a letter from a gender therapist. I found one who is actually covered by my insurance (small miracle), though again, with the exclusion, I don’t know if they will actually cover it if I see her. I can assume if I have to see someone out of pocket, it’s going to drain another $1000 from my bank account.

So…$12,000. I can’t at this point justify spending that on myself. I have kids. They are expensive. Our budget is so tight it screams, and my credit card is maxed out. Hopefully I’ll be able to pay it off by the end of the year, but…

$12,000 is a lot of money.

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Posted in: rants, Uncategorized