According to Joanne Herman’s article over at Huffington Post, more employers will cover transgender surgeries in their insurance starting in 2012. This is a result of the new Corporate Equality Index. In order to score a 100%, companies must begin to cover the surgeries by January 1, 2012.
Transgender people often face serious discrimination in medical settings. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey — Report on Health and Health Care, 19% of the participants were refused care because of their gender identities, and 28% were subject to harassment in doctor’s offices. Trans people who want surgery face not only social blocks, but financial ones as well. Female to male top surgery (a double mastectomy and partial reconstruction) can cost anywhere between $5,000 to $9,000, and male to female reconstructive surgery even more. Obviously this new development is a huge step towards gender equality, but there are some serious downsides.
There’s always the R&C (reasonable and customary) loophole, meaning that the insurance company will limit the coverage to what they think is acceptable. Most insurance companies already have the limits determined, since most transgender surgeries are often performed on non-trans people (think breast reduction/double mastectomy). Additionally, there’s the issue of the patient’s home state. Often, the insurance will only cover procedures in the state that the patient lives in, but since there are so few reputable doctors performing trans surgeries, this might leave the patient with very few options: either no coverage, or an ill-qualified surgeon.
All negatives aside, this is a fantastic leap forward in trans rights!