Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Discrimination Case Against Unive Not At An End Yet

Yesterday I had the hearing at the College voor de Rechten van de Mens (Human Rights Institute) in Utrecht against my health insurance company Unive for discrimination against intersex individuals. Not too much can be said about the hearing other than that after I summarized the essence of the matter, we just kept spinning in circles as the guy representing Unive could not say why they wouldn't fully cover this hair-removal therapy for an intersex person while they do so for transsexuals. In the end it all came down to that their medical adviser had initially said that it should be like this, then CVZ (the organization representing all Dutch health insurance companies) had released their view on the matter, also limiting coverage to transsexuals.

As the members of the institute who were represented at the hearing correctly mentioned neither Unive nor CVZ ever explained their reasoning behind the exclusion of intersex. With the situation being virtually identical from a legal and medical perspective, it'd be hard to argue for such an exclusion anyway. Both concern the transition from a male to a female role and both involve a higher-than-female level of testosterone which resulted in beard growth (which never goes away on its own) prior to a medical procedure which removed the source of the excess testosterone. The presence of this beard growth is thus regarded by the relevant Dutch healthcare law (2.4) as a 'verminking' (disfiguration) and full coverage to have it removed by a professional is provided.

This matter will now be taken to a higher level as the institute will query CVZ for their reasoning behind this decision to limit this law to just transgenders despite it being an open law. Depending on the response another hearing may be schedule at a later date. At any rate this matter can't be put to rest just yet. It is conceivable that even the Dutch Minister of Health (Edith Schippers) may have to justify or clarify certain matters here. At this point it seems that the claim of discrimination based on gender is well and truly justified here and thus a direct violation of the very first article in the Dutch constitution.

For me it would definitely help to get this discrimination acknowledged and possibly be reimbursed for the money I should have received back from Unive. This too was a question during the hearing, namely how much money I had spent beyond the 200-300/year Unive had covered from the extended insurance. This amount came down to over 6,000 Euro in about 6 years time, or over a thousand Euro a year.

I do hope that this Human Rights Institute can provide some measure of justice here, so that I can at least regain some of my trust in the Dutch justice system after my case against the VUmc gender team got thrown out by the medical disciplinary commission earlier this month.


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