Transgender Health Care: What Employers Need to Know

As an employer, you may be concerned about providing health care to your transgender employees. There are laws requiring that all employees receive equal opportunities when it comes to health care, not to mention you may be concerned about ensuring your workplace is inclusive and welcoming to all. There are steps you can take to better understand transgender health care and provide the best benefits to your employees.

Health Care Coverage and Your Workforce

If you offer health insurance to any employee within a certain category (such as full-time workers) you must offer it to all employees who fall within that category. Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act specifically bans discrimination in most insurance coverage, including the denial of health care on the basis of gender identity. Therefore, the following would be a violation of the law:

  • Excluding transition-related care from coverage
  • Refusing to enroll an individual in a plan, canceling coverage or raising rates due to transgender status
  • Denying coverage for medical care that is usually associated with only one gender

Understanding the Health Risks of Transgender Employees

Like many demographic groups, transgender individuals face increased risk for specific health issues. Understanding these risks can help you work with your broker to offer inclusive care to all employees. Some of the greatest concerns for transgender people include the following:

  • Hormone therapy risks: Transgender people often require hormone therapy. However, this therapy can bring negative side effects, including liver damage, high or low blood pressure and blood clots.
  • Depression: Transgender people suffer from higher rates of depression.

Verifying Transgender Health Care Options

There are steps you can take to ensure that all employees receive the care they require. Start by consulting with your broker and request a review of your insurance policy contract. The Human Rights Campaign suggests that employers look at the list of coverage exclusions to see if any could pertain to services your transgender employees may need. These could include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Medical Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder
  • Sex Reassignment Surgery
  • Gender Reassignment Surgery
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Taking the time to understand the unique challenges that transgender employees face when it comes to health care can go a long way toward offering the services and care that benefit all of your employees. Showing sincere concern for all employees will result in attracting and retaining top talent while providing a welcoming and understanding environment for your diverse workforce. Schedule a consultation with your broker to voice any concerns and understand your options.

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This content is provided solely for informational purposes. It is not intended as and does not constitute legal advice. The information contained herein should not be relied upon or used as a substitute for consultation with legal, accounting, tax and/or other professional advisers.

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