Transgender-Inclusive Health Benefits on the Rise

Transgender-inclusive health care benefits offerings are on the rise—29% of U.S. employers currently offer the benefit, up from 12% in 2016.

I chatted with Julie Stich, CEBS, Vice President of Content at the International Foundation about the increasing number of employers offering transgender-inclusive health care benefits. She said, when searching for meaningful employment, individuals look for employers with cultures that resonate. Often this involves inclusiveness and employers that offer a range of benefits to serve a diverse population. Organizations are seeking top talent, and offering an inclusive benefits package sets them apart from their competition.

Transgender-Inclusive Health Benefits on the Rise

The Employee Benefits Survey finds that among U.S. employer-provided health plans:

  • 22% offer gender-reassignment/affirmation surgery (up from 8% in 2016)
  • 25% provide mental health counseling pre- and/or post-surgery (up from 11% in 2016)
  • 24% cover prescription drug therapy (hormone replacement therapy, etc.) (up from 9% in 2016)
  • 24% include physician visits (up from 10% in 2016)
  • 23% cover lab tests (up from 9% in 2016)
  • 3% include cosmetic surgery (facial feminization, Adam’s apple reduction, etc.) (up from 2% in 2016)

Transgender-inclusive health benefits are more commonly provided by large organizations, those with 10,000 or more employees. In 2016, 27% of large employers offered the benefit; two years later, that number has increased to 52%.

[Related Reading: Innovative Health Offerings: 24 Considerations for Your Plan]

For smaller organizations (those with fewer than 50 employees), 4% offered transgender-inclusive health benefits in 2016. That number increased to 10% in 2018.

Julie also added that offering transgender-inclusive health benefits is a way for employers to remain competitive in attracting talent without breaking the bank. Typically, this type of benefit is appreciated but not used frequently.

Anne Patterson

Anne Patterson
Social Media and Communications Associate at the International Foundation

Evidence, Insight and Strategy for Optimizing Health Benefits

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