Legislation adjusts existing Insurance Code to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender people just as it currently protects people based on race, religion, age, gender, national origin and disability
Austin, Texas (December 11, 2012) – State Senator Rodney Ellis of Houston has filedSB 73 and State Representative Senfronia Thompson of Houston has filed HB 226, both to prohibit discrimination in insurance based upon sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
Currently, insurers cannot discriminate in providing any type of insurance (health, life, auto, home) based upon race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, marital status, geographic location, disability or partial disability. These two bills, which are identical, would amend the Insurance Code to expand the prohibition of discrimination to include sexual orientation and gender identity/expression.
Discrimination includes refusing to insure, charging a different rate, or limiting coverage in amount, extent or kind because of bias or prejudice.
“Insurance companies make rate and coverage decisions all the time,” said Senator Ellis. “But, insurance decisions should be based upon sound underwriting or actuarial principles, not bias or prejudice,” Ellis said.
“Discrimination based upon sexual orientation or gender identity/expression is wrong,” Rep. Thompson said. “Texas has the highest rate of uninsured persons in the country. We should be eliminating as many barriers as possible to closing this gap,” Thompson added.
“No person should fear being denied insurance coverage because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression,” said Equality Texas Executive Director Chuck Smith. “Transgender Texans especially face pervasive discrimination in accessing healthcare insurance and we must work to eliminate this bias.”