To qualify, the women would need to demonstrate that they had persistent gender dysphoria, undergo a year of feminizing hormone therapy and have a referral from a mental health professional.

The shift by Aetna represents an important evolution in how health insurers view the medical needs of transgender individuals. While some insurers offer a broad range of surgeries for trans women if they are deemed medically necessary, others exclude breast augmentation and other treatments as merely cosmetic.

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