Nearly one fourth of Fortune 500 companies, such as Apple and General Mills, cover medical expenses associated with transgender care, according to gay and transgender rights group Human Rights Campaign.
That’s up from 19 percent last year. When the group began tracking transgender benefits in 2002, no Fortune 500 companies offered them, reports Newsday.
“The trend shows how much companies want their workplaces to be perceived as welcoming and progressive. Since the Human Rights Campaign began grading companies on the inclusiveness of their benefits for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees, many companies have beefed up their benefits for those groups.
“Beginning in 2011, companies could only receive a 100 percent rating on the group’s Corporate Equality Index by offering at least one insurance plan covering up to $75,000 worth of counseling, hormone therapy and sexual reassignment surgery — the medical term for a sex-change operation. The number of Fortune 500 companies meeting the requirement jumped to 121 this year from 39 in 2011.
“Companies are recognizing that . . . in order to remain competitive in corporate America, you can’t offer discriminatory plans,” says Jennifer Levi, a professor at the Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass.
“While more companies offer transgender benefits, most government programs like Medicare and Medicaid classify sexual reassignment surgery as cosmetic or experimental and do not cover it. Continue reading “Corporations expand transgender health care”
The Obama administration today completed a generation-long effort to require insurers to cover care for mental health and addiction just like physical illnesses when it issues long-awaited regulations defining parity in benefits and treatment, as reported in the New York Times
“The rules, which will apply to almost all forms of insurance, will have far-reaching consequences for many Americans. In the White House, the regulations are also seen as critical to President Obama’s program for curbing
gun violence by addressing an issue on which there is bipartisan agreement: Making treatment more available to those with mental illness could reduce killings, including mass murders.
“In issuing the regulations, senior officials said, the administration will have acted on all 23 executive actions that the president and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced early this year to reduce gun crimes a
fter the Newtown, Conn., school massacre. In planning those actions, the administration anticipated that gun control legislation would fail in Congress as pressure from the gun lobby proved longer-lasting than the national trauma over the killings of first graders and their caretakers last Dec. 14.
“We feel actually like we’ve made a lot of progress on mental health as a result in this year, and this is kind of the big one,” said a senior administration official, one of several who described the outlines of the regulations that Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, will announce at a mental health conference on Friday in Atlanta with the former first lady Rosalynn Carter.
“While laws and regulations dating to 1996 took initial steps in requiring insurance parity for medical and mental health, “here we’re doing full parity, and we’ve also taken steps to extend it to the people covered in the Affordable Care Act,” the senior official said. “This is kind of the final word on parity.” Continue reading “Mandating coverage for mental health and addiction”