From Yale Daily News: http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2013/04/26/yale-health-extends-sex-reassignment/
By Cynthia Hua
Friday, April 26, 2013
The Yale Health Plan will now cover sex-reassignment surgeries for students, joining fellow Ivy League schools Harvard, Brown and the University of Pennsylvania in offering insurance for the procedure.
The extended insurance — which was granted to faculty and staff in 2011 and to unionized workers in January — covers expenses related to a medically necessary sex-reassignment surgery “subject to preauthorization based on widely accepted standards of care.” The coverage change will go into effect Aug. 1 and is part of multiple updates to the student plan announced by Yale Health in a Thursday email to the Yale College community.
Although the surgery is infrequently used, the extended coverage is a significant signal to potential applicants that Yale is committed to providing equal-access health care, said Grace Zimmerly ’13, an advocate for sex-reassignment surgery coverage.
“While Yale was not among the first schools to repeal its coverage exclusion, we hope that this represents a commitment to catch up to our peers in terms of offering transgender students an equitable student life and health care experience,” said Gabriel Murchison ’14, a member of the Resource Alliance for Gender Equity.
Each sex-reassignment case will be approved on an individual basis, but Yale Health will use commonly accepted guidelines, which generally require a mental health assessment and a period of hormonal therapy and/or living in the desired gender role, University spokesman Tom Conroy said.
“This additional student coverage follows a period of several years when similar coverage was provided to Yale employees,” Conroy said. “It made sense, after appropriate study, to bring the student coverage in line with Yale’s belief that, in some circumstances, sex-reassignment surgery is medically necessary and appropriate.”
Murchison said he considers the coverage “reasonably comprehensive,” but added that students considering the surgery must have access to qualified mental health professionals and not be “coerced” into hormone therapy, a typical requirement for sex-reassignment surgery.
In addition to the sex-reassignment change, two revisions to mental health policies will remove a waiting period previously required for inpatient care and will increase mental health coverage for children of students, though outpatient counseling — which includes psychiatry visits, therapy and other services for students not admitted to Yale Health facilities — has not been changed.
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