Oct. 27—An investigator for the Maine Human Rights Commission said the University of Maine System likely discriminated against a transgender student by providing her a health insurance plan that didn't cover some gender-affirming surgery.
The student filed a complaint against the university system three years ago after she signed up for coverage through UMS. It requires students to either have their own health insurance or obtain policies offered by the university system.
The investigator's report said the student enrolled in the fall of 2019, but doesn't specify the campus where she was taking classes.
In November 2019, according to the investigator's report, the woman underwent voice feminization surgery and a procedure to reduce the size of her Adam's apple. The insurer covered the latter but not the former, saying the voice feminization surgery was cosmetic and therefore wasn't included in the policy.
The commission's investigator said there are reasonable grounds to find that UMS discriminated against the student based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. The investigator noted that the university system "continued to offer the same insurance plan despite having been told of its discriminatory terms."
UMS has contested the discrimination claim, saying the student health insurance offered by the system is optional and that it has no control over what procedures are covered.
"The University of Maine System has appealed the decision and will appear before the commission on Nov. 7," Margaret Nagle, interim executive director of communications for the UMaine System, said in a statement Thursday. "UMS does not comment on pending investigations."