Starbucks to offer more benefits for transgender employees

On Monday, Starbucks announced that it was adding health care benefits for its transgender employees. The company’s health insurance plans had already been covering gender affirming surgery since 2012, but now they will also include procedures that were previously considered cosmetic like breast reduction, facial feminization, augmentation surgery, and hair transplants.

“The approach was driven not just by the company’s desire to provide truly inclusive coverage, and by powerful conversations with transgender partners about how those benefits would allow them to truly be who they are,” Ron Crawford, vice president of benefits at Starbucks, said about the expanded coverage. Starbucks consulted with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health to develop its medical benefits policy.

Tate Buhrmester, a Starbucks manager, said that the new policy helps transgender employees like him feel like “they matter and their health matters,” because “our procedures aren’t just cosmetic — they are lifesaving.”

Other trans-friendly workplaces

After the Affordable Care Act banned gender identity discrimination, more people started having their procedures covered by insurance plans, Johns Hopkins research has found. A 2016 survey found that 12% of U.S. companies offer at least one transgender-inclusive health benefit related to transitioning like gender-affirming surgery, mental health counseling, and prescription drug therapy.

The majority of Fortune 500 companies, including companies like Apple, CVS Health, General Motors, Ford Motor, AT&T, General Electric, now offer transgender-inclusive health care benefits, according to the Corporate Equality Index created by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.