Apologies for the quick hit and run - it's almost midnight - but maybe this will make someone's Sunday a little more hopeful. The Board of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), which is the second largest employer purchaser of health insurance (after the Federal government), voted on June 19 to include transgender transition-related care in all of their health plans as of January 1, 2014 (all emphasis added):
CalPERS provides retirement and health benefits to more than 1.6 million public employees, retirees and their families, including employees of the state of California and over 3,000 other California employers, including municipalities and non-profits. CalPERS health plans cover more than 1.3 million individuals. The board’s historic vote means that the 2014 HMO and PPO plans managed by CalPERS will include coverage of “Sex Reassignment Surgery and Related Services for Gender Identity Disorder.” CalPERS is the nation’s largest public health benefits fund, making California the largest employer to offer explicitly transgender-inclusive coverage.This follows the earlier decision to require private insurers to provide transgender-related benefits, meaning that the expanded coverage applies to almost everyone in the state, both public and private, and with few or no age restrictions (private workplaces that self-insure are exempt but many offer coverage anyway).
Equally important to residents of other states is this:
The vote of the CalPERS board reflects trends in the private sector, where transgender-inclusive health plans are increasingly common, with strong encouragement from HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI). The CEI, which evaluates Fortune 1000 and other large employers vis-a-vis LGBT workplace policies, has called for transgender inclusion in employer health plans since 2009. Employers have heeded the CEI’s call: in the 2013 CEI survey, 287 major employers reported coverage of basic medical services related to sex reassignment, including surgical services. Numerous other public and private employers, including many universities and colleges, have also removed exclusions in their employee health plans and provided trans-inclusive coverage.Score 1 for the pro-equality side in the "culture wars"!
(h/t Think Progress)