Department of Insurance and Financial Services Issues Bulletin Reaffirming Commitment to Protecting Residents from Discrimination Based on Sex, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

Media Contact: Laura Hall, 517-290-3779, halll17@michigan.gov
Consumer Hotline: 877-999-6442, Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Aug. 11, 2020

(LANSING, MICH) The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) today issued a bulletin reaffirming its commitment to protecting Michigan residents from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in all statutes and rules it administers, including in health insurance.

“Eliminating barriers to health care for all of our residents is critical to ensuring a healthier future for the state of Michigan,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “This a critical step toward building a more equitable and just state by protecting individuals from discrimination when it comes to their health coverage or care.”

Bulletin 2020-34-INS ensures that all financial service and insurance entities regulated by DIFS, including health insurance plans, cannot deny access, limit benefits, impose additional cost-sharing, or engage in discriminatory marketing practices based on an individual's sex, which includes gender identity and sexual orientation. Interpreting “sex” to include gender identity and sexual orientation is consistent with the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act and the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bostock v Clayton County, Georgia.

"We want all Michigan residents, no matter their gender, orientation, or how they identify, to be able to access insurance benefits and financial services without fear of discrimination,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “This will reaffirm DIFS’ commitment to ensuring that all Michiganders, including the LGBTQ+ community, have equal access to insurance and financial services without facing added costs or other discriminatory barriers.”

DIFS regulates banks, credit unions and insurance companies in Michigan, including fully-insured health insurance plans in the individual, small group, and large group markets, as well as plans sold on the Health Insurance Marketplace. DIFS also regulates individuals and agencies that sell financial and insurance products. Violations should be reported by filing a complaint with DIFS by calling 877-999-6442 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visiting Michigan.gov/DIFSComplaints.

The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

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