SAGE: Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders
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April 10, 2018

Gender Markers Dropped from 44 Million New Medicare Cards Following Years of NCTE Advocacy

By National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)
The National Center for Transgender Equality is proud to announce an important advance by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services based on years of advocacy by NCTE.

Between now and April 2019, CMS will send new cards to the 44 million Americans who receive Medicare. In addition to removing the recipients’ Social Security number to ensure privacy, the new cards will also remove any identifier of the recipients’ gender.

Mara Keisling, Executive Director at the National Center for Transgender Equality, issued the following statement:

“Gender markers on official documents are a considerable barrier for many of the nearly 2 million transgender Americans, many of whom face financial or other barriers to acquiring accurate identification. In a survey of nearly 28,000 transgender adults in the United States, nearly one-third of respondents who showed an ID with a name or gender that did not match their gender presentation were verbally harassed, denied benefits or service, asked to leave, or even assaulted.

“This much-needed update to Medicare cards is the result of advocacy by NCTE over the past decade. NCTE had conversations with CMS over several years to include the removal of gender markers as part of a long-planned Medicare card redesign. This is only one example of the many ways NCTE works tirelessly to make moving through the world and seeking health care easier and safer for transgender people around the nation.”

Michael Adams, Chief Executive Officer of SAGE, added:

“This is an important step forward for transgender older people and for all older Americans—there is simply no reason to force someone to advertise their gender identity on the card they use to get health care as they age. Out and Visible, SAGE’s national survey of LGBT older Americans, documents that many transgender elders are reluctant to discuss their gender identity with healthcare providers for fear of being judged, receiving inferior care, and being denied medical treatment as they age. Removing the gender marker from Medicare cards lets elders decide when and where to share this personal information.”


The National Center for Transgender Equality is the nation's leading social justice advocacy organization winning life-saving change for transgender people.

SAGE is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults.

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