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Frequently Asked Questions

How old do I have to be?

In order to receive gender-affirming hormone therapy services at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, you must be 18 or older and able to provide consent.

While patients under 18 cannot received hormone therapy, they may have a consultation with a provider to understand treatment options and to receive medications to stop their periods (if desired).

How are my services covered?

Gender-affirming medical care including hormones and surgeries must be covered in California, according to the Insurance Gender Nondiscrimination Act, AB 1586. However, if you have not met your deductible, or would have a copay for any other service, the same will apply to your gender-affirming care services and prescriptions. Additionally, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest is not contracted with every insurance provider. We will check for insurance coverage before or at the start of your visit. You can ask our biller for a cost estimate before you begin your appointment.

What if I don’t have insurance?

  • Family PACT: We may be able to sign you up for Family PACT if you meet the income requirements and are receiving certain sexual health services. This will not cover your gender-affirming medical care but can cover other sexual health services.
  • Sliding-scale fees: For people who are paying out of-pocket for their services, we have a sliding scale for fees based on your income. There is also a flat rate for telehealth services.
  • Medications: If you do not have insurance, you can pay out of pocket for your medications. We recommend that you ask your provider about prescription discount programs to reduce the cost to you. You can search by type of medication and zip code, and the programs will show you which pharmacies have the most affordable rates, using their discounts. Some pharmacies will also be able to connect you with affordability programs.
  • Lab tests: If you need lab work and do not have insurance, you can arrange to come to Planned Parenthood for your blood draw, and pay us directly, using our sliding scale. We have worked to make this service affordable.
  • Losing coverage: If you lose insurance coverage, please let us know. We can help you find the most affordable approach to continuing your hormone therapy. We want you to have access to this medically necessary care.

Can I transfer my care to Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest?

Planned Parenthood contracts with many, but not all, insurance plans. If you have a PPO plan (preferred provider organization) you can typically choose to go wherever you wish without a referral, as long as we take your insurance. For some commercial HMO plans and some types of Medi-Cal, you’ll need a referral from your primary care provider (this is the main doctor who you’re assigned to, or your home health center). This is called a referral authorization, and is processed using your insurance company’s website. Your doctor’s office will need some basic information about the type of care you’re getting, which health center, and for how long. Sometimes they’ll want us to send them a referral request letter first. If so, please get their fax number. The referral usually lasts for 1 year.

What if I move out of the area?

  • Remote care: If you move within the state, we may still be able to see you remotely. We can work with you to coordinate getting labs, scheduling telehealth appointments and finding a pharmacy.
  • Out-of-area referrals: However, if your insurance plan is out of area, you might not be able to get a referral to come see us from your new primary care doctor. This means you’d need to pay out of pocket for your visits with us until you’re able to establish care with your new provider.
  • Transferring care: We may be able to help you find a new provider. Planned Parenthood health centers throughout the country are working to expand access to gender-affirming care. If you want your medical records sent to your new provider, you’ll need to fill out a release form. It’s helpful to do this before you move, but if needed we can mail you the release form.

What other services are offered?

We are happy to help you with other aspects of gender care and gender affirmation, if these are things you’re interested in.

  • Name/gender marker change letters: We recommend the Transgender Law Center’s state-by-state guide to changing legal identity documents. We can provide a letter attesting that your gender is your gender for your court process and passport application.
  • Information on surgery: If you’re interested in a referral for a particular surgery, we can help you with a list of recommended surgeons and a letter of support. You will likely need to get a referral to the surgeon from your primary care provider as well. We can help you navigate those processes. For some surgeries you need a letter from a therapist and a letter from a physician. For others you’ll need 3 letters: one from a mental health professional with a PhD, PsyD or MD, one from a therapist, and one from a hormone provider or primary care provider. There may be an associated cost with this visit as the clinician needs to evaluate whether you are an appropriate candidate for surgery.
  • Therapists: We maintain lists of gender-affirming therapists for a variety of insurance plans and sliding-scale payment options. Whether or not you want to talk with a therapist about gender issues, patients often prefer to see someone trans-affirming for their mental and emotional health care. We can work with you to help you find a therapist you connect with.
  • Information for hair removal: We may be able to help you find an affirming and accessible hair-removal location or talk to you about avenues for hair removal.
  • Fertility resources: Fertility preservation is not usually covered by insurance at this time, but we can discuss fertility with you and share options for fertility preservation.
  • Vocal coaching: This is not covered by insurance at this time, but we may be able to provide you with contact information for gender-affirming vocal coaching. There is also a voice coaching app available for download.
  • Community resources: We can help connect you with community-based resources, like free binder programs, support groups, food pantries, LGBTQ+ shelters, crisis lines, microgrants, and the nearest LGBTQ+ centers and trans-specific events. Just let us know what type of support and community-building you’re looking for, and we’ll try our best to connect you. Feel free to share community resources with us if you feel comfortable.
  • Support for your loved ones: If your loved ones need education about trans issues, support in their learning process, or to build community, we can connect them with support circles and educational resources, and can answer questions (with respect for your privacy) if they come with you to a visit. Your loved ones can also visit PFLAG website to learn more.