Post submitted by Brian McBride, former HRC Digital Strategist
As HRC celebrates Transgender Day of Visibility, we wanted to highlight the importance of providing inclusive health coverage to transgender people in the workplace.
Earlier this week, we released our 10th edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI); this crucial tool evaluates policies and practices related to the inclusion of LGBTQ patients, visitors and employees in more than 1,600 health care facilities nationwide. Although, the LGBTQ community has made strides in receiving adequate care and services, transgender patients still face far too many barriers by the healthcare industry.
Generally, LGBTQ patients face very significant challenges in healthcare: 56 percent of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people report experiences of serious discrimination in healthcare, while 70 percent of transgender people report serious discrimination; which is why it’s critical for employers to provide trans-inclusive healthcare benefits.
In fact, U.S. employer based health care plans have historically explicitly contained “transgender exclusions.” These blanket exclusions prohibit coverage for medical care related to gender transition, including mental health care, hormone therapy, gender affirming surgeries and other medically necessary services.
These discriminatory exclusions persisted despite the fact that the nation’s top professional health associations -- including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association -- have affirmed that transition-related care is medically necessary for the health and well being of many transgender people. Denying this care is not only detrimental to trans people’s health, but also their ability to contribute effectively in the workplace and society at large.
As a result the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which requires companies to provide transgender affirming healthcare coverage in order to receive a score of 100, a growing number of employers are eliminating trans-exclusions and offering transition-related health care coverage. In the CEI 2017, 73 percent of rated businesses offered this important health care benefit. The Healthcare Equality Index just announced that transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage will be a requirement beginning with the HEI 2019, which will be surveyed in 2018.
By embracing these trans-inclusive benefits, these initiatives will only help more businesses achieve their goal of promoting health and wellness across a diverse workforce.
To learn how you can help support and learn more about the transgender community, please visit hrc.org/transgender.