UC Berkeley insurance to cover range of gender-reassignment procedures

The University of California-Berkeley campus in 2014.

The University of California-Berkeley campus in 2014.  (REUTERS/Noah Berger)

Incoming students at the University of California Berkeley may not be able to afford insurance for their dependents next year, but if they are transgendered they can sleep well knowing that electrolysis hair removal and other elective procedures associated with transitioning from male to female or vice versa are now covered.

Berkeley recently announced that it is switching insurance carriers next year, and students at the Bay Area campus are (mostly) overjoyed with the new policies. Premiums may be higher across the board, but the new policies now cover a range of surgeries and procedures deemed important to the transgender community.

Basic gender-reassignment surgery was covered by the 2015 policy, but a number of other elective procedures (including electrolysis hair removal) were not. Such procedures are as “essential as the surgery itself, if not more,” one transgender student told the school’s newspaper last spring.

According to the Daily Californian (via the College Fix), Berkeley will be switching to Anthem Blue Cross. The new policy is better overall for the student body in that it now covers routine eye and dental care – even if the students don’t seem to be as concerned about those basic needs.

But the students may find the good times short-lived. The University of California system, which assesses health care needs for each campus community, faces a budget shortfall that may force Berkeley to roll back its lavish coverage in the near future.

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