30 May 2012

SEIU Seeks Transgender-Inclusive Health Insurance

One good thing about working for the City University of New York is that it offers pretty good health insurance policies.  Mine didn't pay for my surgery; then again, not many policies do.  But I haven't had difficulty in getting other care I've needed, including follow-ups to my surgery.

On the other hand, other trans people don't have it so good.  For one thing, too many of us don't have jobs at all.  And among those of us who have one (or two or three or more part-time jobs!), too many don't have health insurance.  Some have been categorically denied insurance because they are transgendered.

At least one large labor union is looking to change that.  Yesterday, at their national conference in Denver, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) passed a resolution saying that local groups and individual members will bargain for transgender-inclusive health-care coverage in their contract negotiations with businesses and employers. 

That resolution is significant because the SEIU is one of this country's largest unions, with 2.1 million members.  It's also meaningful because it shows that SEIU is aligning itself with organization--some of which are transgender or LGBT-specific--that are working to get organizations and companies to offer trans-inclusive health policies. 

Paying for follow-up care, as my plan does, is a good first step.  But, ultimately, we need to have policies that cover, not only surgeries, but psychological therapy and counseling as well as such things as hormones and other medications.  (For trans people, hormones are indeed medications, not recreational drugs.)  I'm not a financial analyst or accountant, but I would think that such inclusions wouldn't be as expensive for the insurers as some might expect.  For one thing, the number and percentage of people who actually go through with the therapies and surgeries is quite small, and will remain so even if the "gates" to them are opened up.  Finally, as one doctor said about gender reassignment surgery, "You only get it once."

1 comment:

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