The Diamondback, the University of Maryland’s student newspaper, is reporting that sex change operations may soon be required coverage under the university’s student health insurance plan. The newspaper states that the University’s health center has “submitted proposals to three separate companies detailing what the university would like its new plan to include” and “all include coverage of up to $100,000 for any kind of sexual reassignment procedure.” The health center supervises the university’s student health plans.
The health care plan for students currently enrolled at the University of Maryland has no coverage for sex change operations or treatments. Some advocates for transgendered individuals believe the situation is discriminatory.
Nicholas Sakurai, the associate director of the LGBT Equity center at the university told The Diamondback that once sex changes were covered, that “would definitely bring us a lot [sic] to where we want to be to make sure we’re not discriminating as an institution.”
Joe Ehrenkrantz, diversity director for the student government, told The Diamondback that the lack of sex change coverage is “calculating discrimination into the cost of health insurance.”
Yet the group of students interested in sex changes is tiny; The Diamondback states that out of the 37,000 students, “The health center saw about five students for transgender care in the past two years, officials said, and one of those students used the insurance plan.”
Sacared Bodison, the health center director, said that with the added charges to all students that would result from adding sex changes to the university’s coverage, it is the price that will determine if the coverage is offered. Bodison said, “It is not a benefit many people would use, so it has to be weighed against all the other people who would pay extra money. I expect it to add to the premium. I’m just hoping it won’t add much.” She added that adding the coverage would increase the cost of students’ premiums roughly $15.