Jury awards $780,500 to transgender UW employee, student over health care coverage

MADISON — A jury has awarded a transgender University of Wisconsin-Madison employee and a transgender UW-Madison student $780,500 in damages after a federal judge ruled a state ban on insurance coverage for gender-changing surgery amounts to sexual discrimination.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last year on behalf of UW-Madison cancer research Shannon Andres and graduate student Alina Boyden. The lawsuit maintained the state ban on coverage of transgender health violate the federal Civil Rights Act.

U.S. District Judge Willian Conley agreed in a September ruling. The Wisconsin State Journal reports the jury awarded Andres $479,500 and Boyden $301,000 on Wednesday.

The state plans to end the ban on transgender health care coverage on Jan. 1 after the Group Insurance Board voted 5-4 in August to allow coverage.