Penn adds sexual reassignment surgery coverage for employees

During Benefits Open Enrollment in April, Penn employees will have the option to choose a medical insurance plan that includes coverage for sexual reassignment surgery.

Similar coverage has been available to students through the Penn Student Insurance Plan since 2010.

The surgery is considered medically necessary for transsexual and transgender individuals with gender identity disorder.

“We’re very happy we can put this coverage out there,” says Terri Ryan, manager of strategic communications for the Division of Human Resources (HR). “We do our best to provide the most comprehensive benefits possible for our employees.”

HR has weighed adding this coverage for several years, receiving input from on-campus organizations, including Penn’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Center and the Lambda Alliance.

“This was a collaborative effort,” says Erin Cross, associate director of the LGBT Center. “HR, University Council, Lambda Alliance, and our Center worked together to do something necessary and right for the Penn community. It’s a win for all involved.”

The coverage will be offered through the Aetna Choice Point of Service II plan, one of four medical insurance plans available to Penn employees. Though relatively few medical providers perform sexual reassignment surgical procedures, plan participants will be able to work with Aetna to try to bring a chosen provider into the company’s network or get the services covered in-network even if the provider stays out of network. Participants must contact Aetna prior to having any services provided to obtain authorization for the surgery.

The new policy will go into effect July 1.

For more information about the added sexual reassignment surgery benefit and other changes to healthcare benefits, HR is offering several information sessions and an Open Enrollment and Health Fair on April 10 in Houston Hall’s Hall of Flags. Additional details are available on the HR website.