Penn to Pay for Student Sex Changes

Transgender students can get sex changes under the school's new health plan

By Teresa Masterson
|  Thursday, Apr 15, 2010  |  Updated 2:00 PM EDT
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Penn to Pay for Student Sex Changes

Transgender students at the University of Pennsylvania will be able to undergo sex change surgeries and treatments under the school’s new student health plan starting next fall.

The new coverage includes up to $50,000 for students to get gender reassignment surgery as well as therapy and hormone treatments. According to research by Transgender At Work, the cost of male-to-female surgery is an average of $20,000, reports the Daily Pennsylvanian.

University spokesman Ron Ozio says Penn president Amy Gutmann approved the changes last week to the Penn Student Insurance Plan, which is typically used by students who aren't otherwise covered by insurance.

College senior and chair of the campus Lambda Alliance Board Dennie Zastrow introduced the initiative.

“A problem with LGBT advocacy at Penn in the past had been that we overlooked the needs of transgender students,” Zastrow told the Daily Pennsylvanian.

Ozio says the additional coverage will have a negligible effect on premiums for the approximately 8,000 Penn students who use the university's plan. The Daily Pennsylvanian says it will only “increase by a matter of cents.”

Employees should also have the coverage, Bob Schoenberg, Penn employee and director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center at Penn, told the Inquirer.

"Frankly, I think it's only a matter of time," said Schoenberg. "It's a little bit inequitable to have coverage for students but not for staff."
 

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