Bolster trans insurance coverage

Student health insurance plans should cover medical care for transgender students.

The University of Minnesota’s Student Health Benefit Plan began covering procedures related to gender dysphoria during the last academic year. Many colleges nationwide, including in the Big Ten, are still behind and lack any coverage of medical care for transgender students.

The University’s coverage comes after student Alena Neumann sued in 2010, and more than three years later, Neuman finally received medical care. It reflects poorly on the University that coverage came only after students needed medical care, but the University is ahead of other schools around the country.

Boynton Health Service Chief Operating Officer Carl Anderson told the Daily that he estimated gender confirmation surgery can cost from $20,000 to $90,000. Anderson also told the Daily that the University would likely increase the coverage cap from $35,000 to $50,000, which is a step in the right direction.

While increasing the coverage cap won’t affect a vast majority of University students, the coverage has huge power to improve the lives of transgender students.

A majority of Big Ten student insurance plans don’t cover surgical procedures related to gender dysphoria. Given the high costs of the surgery, it’s best to break down the price tag among the insured. This makes substantial coverage all the more necessary to give transgender students access to the medical care they need.

By having this coverage, the University has made a move to welcome a more diverse student body. Increasing the coverage gap would be an approachable way of improving the lives of transgender students on campus. Big Ten universities and other colleges nationwide should follow in the University’s example in updating student health plans.