The supermarket giant, Kroger Co, announced last Friday that it will expand its health benefits to include full coverage for its transgender employees, starting next year.
The company made the announcement on its website, stating “Beginning January 1, 2016, medical procedures including surgery and drug therapy for gender reassignment will be covered up to a $100,000 lifetime maximum for eligible associates and their dependents.”
This is a landslide win for the transgender community, with hope that other large businesses will follow suit.
The change in health care services for transgender peoples started five years ago with Obamacare. This new policy prohibited discrimination against patients based on sex, age, gender, nationality and disability. In September of this year, the Department of Health and Human Services(DHHS) released a list of rules they proposed regarding the care of transgender peoples. This is also big news as the document defined gender identity as “an individual’s internal sense of gender, which may be different from an individual’s sex assigned at birth.”
This plan clearly suggests that it be made illegal the trend of health care policies excluding all gender transitioning treatments, including hormonal therapy. The list states that health care would cover services for transgender peoples if it provides it for non-transgender people.
The broadening of access to healthcare is a large step in opening the conversation regarding tolerance and acceptance of those that are different. Not only is it a social win, but it also is one step in creating a safer place for the transgender community.
Transgender people are less likely to seek medical help due to fear of discrimination and this can lead to the progress of medical conditions that go unchecked.
Being a transgender person should not mean you are denied healthcare. Let’s continue this trend towards progress by speaking up and against discrimination. 2015 has been a huge year towards tolerance for transgender peoples, with more visibility in the media than ever but there is still a long way to go.
If you or someone you know is struggling with gender identity or feels unsafe due to their gender identity, please call the translifeline hotline, a non-profit “dedicated to the well-being of transgender people” at US (877) 565-8860 or Canadian (877) 330-6366 hotlines.