Medicare to include Intersex and Trans People

Picture4Australia’s LGBTI Health Alliance welcomes changes to the Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS) that provide more inclusive health care for intersex, trans and gender diverse people as of July 1 2013.

The Department of Health and Ageing consulted with the Alliance and several other community organisations prior to the removal of genders pecific language from 15 Medicare item billing codes. The 15 amended item codes cover several key areas of health care, including cervical smears.

“Research shows that trans and gender diverse people often avoid seeking necessary health care due to fears of being misgendered, and intersex people report having similar concerns about having their bodies misclassified in medical records.

The recent changes will increase the number of intersex, trans and gender diverse people who feel comfortable seeking necessary medical care”, said Warren Talbot, Alliance Executive Director.

“The Alliance welcomes the removal of gender-specific language in these MBS item codes. These changes will lead to more respectful and inclusive health care for intersex, trans and gender diverse Australians.” Mr Talbot said that the ability for people listed as ‘male’ to receive cervical smears was particularly important. “An intersex or trans man who needs a cervical smear can now receive this care without being misgendered as ‘female’ in his medical records. Some men have died from cervical cancers.

The removal of gender-specific language for cervical smears encourages health professionals to provide necessary care in a way that respects how people define their bodies and genders. We hope the MBS will consider changing the remaining gender-specific item codes in the future”, Mr Talbot said. Health care professionals and community members who wish to find out more about the amended MBS item codes should.

CLICK HERE to visit the MBS website.