What do Coca-Cola, Campbell’s Soup, and Wells Fargo all have in common? They, along with over 85 other American companies provide insurance plans covering surgeries for transgender employees. Fantastic!
In order to maintain the coveted (But not always accurate. We’re looking at you, Target.) perfect 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign’s business equality ranking, companies must now provide a minimum of $75,ooo worth of coverage for sexual reassignment surgeries for transgender employees.
If the $75,000 sounds pricey to you, you’re not alone. A New York Life employee told MSNBC:
“The big misconception is we are going to go broke and all these transgender people are going to come out of the woodwork asking for gender reassignment surgery.”
In fact, it’s usually just a handful of employees within these large corporations that need these benefits. Sometimes it’s just one or two people who desperately need this insurance coverage. Companies that have begun providing this service have realized they spend more money on having appendixes removed each year than assisting the transition of transgender staff.
Some businesses see covering the cost of transgender surgery as not only an important human resources statement, but good business sense.
“Wells Fargo elected to offer this benefit to be competitive as an employer and also to support our comprehensive corporate commitment to diversity,” company spokesman Mary Eshet said.
Joanne Herman, the author of “Transgender Explained For Those Who Are Not,” said both corporate America and insurers need to understand that genital surgery is not the be-all and end-all in making a person’s appearance match the way he or she feels inside.
For men becoming women, undergoing facial reconstruction may be even more important because it will affect how they are perceived and treated in public, Herman said. The same is true for female-to-male transsexuals and breast surgery. Yet standard insurance plans typically dismiss both as cosmetic, even though people with untreated Gender Identity Disorder are at high risk of suicide and those who get treatment become better workers.
“If you are transsexual, living as anything other than that is a very bleak experience. It’s amazing how much happier I am, how much more productive, social and involved I am as Joanne,” she said.
Fantastic news! We’re so proud of pioneering companies like American Express, Kraft Foods, AT&T, Yahoo!, Eastman Kodak, Sears, Morgan Stanley, Price Waterhouse, General Motors and State Farm for adding these services to their roster. Thank you!
Are you surprised to hear how many companies are supporting their transgender employees?