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If You’re Transgender, These Schools Are On Your Side


Rally for transgender equality.

CREDIT: Flickr/ Ted Eytan

Recently Syracuse University revised its healthcare policy to cover the cost of transition-related services for transgender faculty and staff, joining a growing demographic of colleges that are changing their healthcare plans to provide coverage for transgender students and employees.

Other schools include Harvard, Yale and American University. The Transgender Law and Policy Institute reported that after the benefits are applied, individuals will have minimal to no additional cost for transitional care.

In February, Donnie Collins, a male trans student and fraternity member at Emerson College, brought media attention to the high price tag for transitional surgery and the fundamental need for comprehensive coverage for many trans individuals when he started a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for his surgery after his insurance company rejected the coverage.

Collins raised more than $16,000, but his college ended up being able to negotiate with its insurance provider to cover his medical costs.

"After the rejection of his initial request, the college contacted Aetna for clarification—knowing that transgender benefits have been part of its insurance policy with Aetna since 2006," Emerson College said in a statement.

As the Affordable Care Act prepares to go into full swing in January, “the faculty and staff at Syracuse should celebrate this achievement,” Vincent Paolo Villano, director of communications at the National Center for Transgender Equality told Campus Progress. “However, there are broader challenges with outdated health insurance policies that exclude transition-related care. But with the medical consensus on our side, and as more institutions follow Syracuse’s lead, then we’ll all be better positioned to end these exclusions in all insurance policies.”

Anya Callahan is a reporter for Generation Progress. Follow her on Twitter @LezAnya.

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