‘Gay therapy’ ban puts insurers on notice

Private insurers will be on the lookout for conversion therapy practitioners trying to sneak the treatment under the radar now that Ontario has banned the practice.

‘Gay therapy’ ban puts insurers on notice
Ontario may have just banned the treatment, but private insurers may need to be on the lookout for conversion therapy practitioners prepared to label it as depression or something still covered.

“We’re sending an incredibly strong message,” NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo told the Toronto Star Thursday. “There’s absolutely no room in an inclusive society for trying to change somebody’s sexual identity or their gender expression or their gender identity.”

The legislation to ban conversion therapy was passed unanimously by all three political parties. Ontario medical practitioners will no longer be able to bill OHIP for this treatment.

The big question is whether these same practitioners will try to get around the ban by pretending to treat for conditions such as depression, anxiety and other mood disorders.

Dr. Joe Kort is a leading expert on sex and relationships in the U.S. Among his specialties include sexual identity concerns. In an article written by Kort about reparative therapy and health insurance, the psychotherapist and social worker discusses the way around the rules put in place by insurance companies.

Of course, Kort is speaking about the U.S. healthcare system but it’s possible that conversion therapy practitioners will try to skirt the changes to Ontario legislation in order to keep benefiting from this highly controversial practice.

“If a client comes in and want to "change" from gay to straight many therapists would say this person is "depressed" or "anxious" and give them codes for those mood disorders,” says Kort. “Insurances rarely check to see what is contributing to the depression they simply want to know what they are paying for and monitor the depressive symptoms.”