ACLU sues PeaceHealth, says it didn’t cover transgender care

SEATTLE (AP) — A former worker for a Catholic health care system in the Northwest is suing the organization, saying its insurance plan refused to cover gender-reassignment surgery for her teenage son.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington was filing the discrimination lawsuit against PeaceHealth in federal court Thursday on behalf of Cheryl Enstad, of Bellingham, and her son, Patxon Enstad.

PeaceHealth, which is based in Vancouver, Washington, and operates 10 medical centers, did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Cheryl Enstad worked at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham from 1996 until last April. She says she was stunned to learn PeaceHealth wouldn’t cover Paxton’s chest reconstruction surgery, which his doctors had determined was medically necessary to treat his gender dysphoria and its effects, including depression.

She says she paid more than $10,000 herself by taking out loans and dipping into her son’s college account.