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University to provide transition-related health care benefits

October 15, 2014

Effective Jan. 1, 2015, the University of Rochester’s employee health care plans will include transition-related health care benefits for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.

The Health Plan Committee, which evaluates new proposals for inclusion in the University’s health program offerings, recently approved this expansion of benefits to enrolled employees and their covered family members. According to Aetna’s/Excellus’ policy guidelines, the benefit will cover medically necessary transition-related coverage, including hormone therapy, medical and psychological counseling, and gender affirmation surgery.

In 2006, the American Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health all declared that gender affirmation surgery is medically necessary for the health of transgender people.

“The transgender community has experienced widespread misunderstanding and discrimination with respect to its health care needs, which is why this medical coverage is essential to making sure that their mental and physical health needs are provided,” said John Cullen, coordinator of outreach for the University’s Susan B. Anthony Center, who worked with Human Resources to expand the benefits. “This is a huge step forward for the University and the right thing to do.

“It also demonstrates that the University of Rochester is committed to being a diverse and inclusive workplace, and is promoting an environment where all employees human dignity is respected,” said Cullen.

An increasing number of colleges and universities, as well as Fortune 500 companies, are expanding their health plan coverage to include transition-related treatment and surgery. According to Campuspride.org, Rochester is the 27th U.S. college or university to offer transition-related medical expenses under employee health insurance. University Health Service added transition-related coverage to the student health plans beginning with the start of this fall semester.

For more information on this new benefit, contact the University’s Benefits Office at 275-2084.

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