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Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity Questions

Applies to Insurers

Q. What is the responsibility of insurers with respect to sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation, which includes gender identity and expression, is not a permissible consideration in insurance.  Insurers may not refuse to issue or cancel or decline to renew insurance coverage on the basis of sexual orientation, nor may insurers offer different amounts of benefits payable, terms, rates, conditions, or types of coverage on the basis of sexual orientation.

Q. May an insurer discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation where bona fide statistical differences in risk or exposure have been substantiated?

No.  Although state law allows insurers to use actuarial distinctions in coverage on the basis of sex, marital status, or handicap, no such exception exists for sexual orientation. No discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is permissible.

Washington State Joint Letter on Health Coverage for Same–Sex Spouses