Gender reassignment now a health benefit

Oct 2, 2015


 By Lyndsey Hall


Employees at 415 companies in the US can now receive gender reassignment treatment as a staff benefit


In a survey of 780 businesses, over half now offer the procedure; compared to just 49 companies in 2009. According to the report by The Human Rights Campaign, an NGO working for LGBT equal rights, the number of companies offering the procedures has doubled since 2012.

Netflix and Facebook are amongst the firms that now allow staff to claim for hormone therapy and reassignment surgery on their work health insurance. Goldman Sachs has been offering the procedures within the company health care package since 2008.

Netflix has recently been in the media after announcing that staff will be able to take unlimited shared parental leave with full pay, for up to 12 months following their child’s birth or adoption, and Facebook announced last year that it will pay for female employees to freeze their eggs, allowing them to delay motherhood and focus on their careers.

With the increasing availability of health care such as gender reassignment and egg freezing on the company dime, are employers really opening up to equality and diversity, or is it just a façade?

A study has found that only one in 20,000 employees actually uses the gender reassignment benefit per year in the US, with the average claim costing just $30,000 (a full transition can cost upwards of $150,000). Is offering the procedure as a company health benefit just a way for big corporations to appear diverse, without any real cost?

Gender reassignment is a hot topic at the moment, with celebrities such as former Olympic decathlete Caitlyn Jenner, and Yorkshire radio DJ Stephanie Hirst, coming under the spotlight recently, and there is a danger that companies may be offering these procedures to staff to appear egalitarian, when in reality very few employees actually use it.

With the absence of a national health service, do you think it is up to American business owners to help their employees cover the cost of such treatment? Or do you believe it is just a way for corporations to put a check in a box on an equality and diversity form? We’d love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment or get in touch on Facebook and Twitter.


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