Companies offering coverage for gender-affirming health care in Florida may soon find themselves responsible for the total costs of an employee’s detransition care under a new state Senate bill filed this week.
Florida’s proposed “Reverse Woke Act,” introduced Monday by Republican state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, would require businesses that cover gender-affirming medical care to be financially responsible for any subsequent detransitions — even for individuals that it no longer employs.
Ingoglia, who previously served as the vice chair of Florida’s Republican party, said in a statement on Monday that the bill is intended to protect residents from being “used as political pawns to advance a leftist agenda for the Governor of California” in an apparent reference to a new California law that safeguards access to gender-affirming health care for transgender youths and adults nationwide.
The Florida bill would also put employers that fund out-of-state travel for gender-affirming health care on the hook for detransition care. Current and former employees may sue companies for failing or refusing to cover the “total costs” of medical procedures to “reverse gender dysphoria treatment.”
“Woke businesses need to be held accountable when offering to pay for gender affirming surgeries in other states, such as California, because they are nothing more than political decisions masquerading as healthcare and human resource decisions,” Ingoglia said on Monday.
He added that the bill’s requirements should be a “no-brainer” for companies that truly care about the health and well-being of their employees, though transgender health care advocates said the measure is likely to deter companies in Florida from providing coverage for gender-affirming care at all.
“Coverage for detransition under a broader gender dysphoria diagnosis isn’t inherently bad and I think should be covered,” Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, wrote on Twitter. “The problem is that they are making this a massive unquantifiable liability for employers and insurance companies because the liability risk is not knowable.”
Florida businesses providing health insurance coverage for gender-affirming care could be responsible for footing the bill of procedures to reverse that care for the entirety of an individual’s life under Ingoglia’s bill, according to Erin Reed, an independent legislative researcher.
“The provisions are ridiculously broad and lack precedent in law,” Reed wrote Monday in her substack newsletter, adding that the bill could also skirt federal restrictions on private insurance plans, she said.
Gender-affirming health care for transgender youth and adults is supported by most major medical organizations. Detransitioning is also exceedingly rare, with studies finding that an average 97 percent of transgender people do not regret their transition.
Additional inquiries have found that an overwhelming majority of transgender people who choose to detransition do not do so because of regret or dissatisfaction, but because of social stigma or pressure from family, school or work.
The state’s medical boards earlier this month voted to adopt rules to bar transgender youth younger than 18 from receiving puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy. In August, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration adopted a rule eliminating coverage for gender-affirming health care for transgender Medicaid recipients of all ages.
Ingoglia’s bill will be considered when the legislature reconvenes March 7.