Thursday, September 20, 2012

More Employers' Health Plans Include Benefits For Transgender People

In a recent article it noted that a growing number of companies are changing their health insurance plans to include benefits for transgender employees. Yet even though professional groups such as the American Medical Association recommend coverage of services for transgender people —who identify with a gender other than the one they were born as—many companies continue to hold back. One of their big worries is cost.

"Companies worry: Does this open the floodgates for people wanting cosmetic surgery?" says Deena Fidas, deputy director for the workplace project at the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. "The answer is no." (read full article here)

Fear regarding the issue of insuring transgender people, like so many other topics concerning the transgender community,  seems to be fueled by (A) lack of education, and (B) predetermined assumption -- in other words, ignorance.

How many trans-people do these companies really think are qualified for the job openings they have?
When I discussed the issue with Pauline Park, chair of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA), here is what she said: "The notion that employers would be bankrupted by offering health insurance plans that cover sex reassignment surgery is an irrational fear, because most transgender people don't elect to have GRS (SRS) and most employers will have very few transgender employees. Those employers that do offer health insurance that covers GRS (SRS), hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and other gender transition-related surgeries and procedures have noticed no significant impact on their bottom line. Furthermore, those employers that do offer transgender-inclusive health insurance will attract skilled and talented transgender employees to their benefit."

Amanda Simpson

The point is well taken, because their are so many talented transgender people out there, many of whom, like the rest of the mainstream are looking for good positions.  During the past several years we've seen some transgender people rising in different sectors of the economy, from Amanda Simpson being selected by President Obama to her Commerce post, Gina Duncan working and transitioning on the job at Wells Fargo before entering politics, Diego Sanchez, to a long list of other professionals that include lawyers, judges, stock brokers, and business people.

We're out there, many of us highly educated with special skill-sets.  

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