Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Coverage of Hormone Therapies Used by Transgender Individuals

Michael T. Solotke, Patrick Liu, Sanket S. Dhruva, Barbara Gulanski, Nilay D. Shah, Joseph S. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: Although pharmacologic hormone therapy represents one of the mainstays of gender-affirming therapy for transgender individuals, there are many access barriers for these therapies, including insurance coverage of these drugs. The purpose of this study was to examine Medicare coverage of hormone therapies used by transgender individuals. Methods: Using Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services prescription drug plan formulary files, we determined plan coverage, coverage restrictions, and out-of-pocket (OOP) costs for all 10 drugs recommended in the 2009 and 2017 Endocrine Society treatment guidelines for transgender patients. Results: For masculinizing therapies, the proportion of plans providing unrestricted coverage ranged from 22% to 79% in 2010 and from 5% to 75% in 2018. For feminizing therapies, the proportion providing unrestricted coverage ranged from 24% to 100% in 2010 and from 13% to 100% in 2018. Median annual OOP costs for masculinizing therapies ranged from $232 to $1112 in 2010 and from $180 to $2176 in 2018. For feminizing therapies, OOP costs ranged from $84 to $2716 in 2010 and from $72 to $3792 in 2018. Conclusion: Our findings highlight the variability in access to guideline-recommended hormone therapies for individuals insured through Medicare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalLGBT Health
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Endocrine Society guideline
  • Medicare prescription drug plans
  • gender-affirming therapy
  • hormone therapy
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Urology

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