A federal lawsuit filed by a group of parents in Oregon this week accuses a state health insurance company of refusing to cover children’s medical care because of its parent company’s stance on abortion and same-sex marriage.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Eugene, alleges that Oregon Health Plan, Inc., which operates the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oregon (ACBX) network of insurers, violates the Children’s Health Defense Act, which prohibits the denial of benefits to a child for reasons such as gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, gender reassignment, or gender identity disorder.
The law, which was signed by President Barack Obama in 2013, was originally passed in response to the 2010 shooting of five children and a staff member of the U.K.’s National Health Service in the Umm al-Hiran neighborhood of Birmingham.
The attack left seven dead and another 15 injured.
In a separate incident, a gunman opened fire at a Colorado movie theater in July 2015.
The lawsuit also alleges that Anthem Blue Shield and its parent, Humana Health Insurance, “misrepresented” the ACA to Oregon consumers.
The suit claims that Anthem and Humana “did not, and in fact, falsely and misleadingly misrepresented the scope of their services to the public” in its promotional materials and on the ACA website.
Anthem BlueShield, Humans parent company, also “fails to meet minimum standards” of providing “adequate, timely, and affordable” health insurance coverage, the suit says.
The complaint also claims Anthem’s failure to provide coverage to children “is a violation of the Childrens Health Defense act and its accompanying rulemaking” and the “American Health Care Act.”
“In fact, the [ACA] mandate prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, pregnancy and gender identity and, in particular, gender identity disorders,” the suit alleges.
The complaint seeks class action status for the children in the case.
A Anthem spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A spokesperson for Anthem said the company was not involved in the lawsuit and did not comment on pending litigation.
Anthem has been a major player in Oregon’s insurance marketplace for years.
Anthem also operates Anthem BlueCross BlueShield of America (ACBA), the state’s only health insurance provider, and Anthem Health Solutions, which operates Anthem Family Health Plan.
The Oregon lawsuit also accuses Anthem BluePoint BlueShield Oregon, Inc. (ABX), Anthem BlueBuck of Oregon, Anthem Health, and Humans of violating the Children Act.
It also says Anthem’s parent company was a “false representation” in the ACA, which is “misleading and deceptive.”
The Oregon suit seeks unspecified damages and attorney fees.
Anthem and Anthem Blue Buck declined to comment.