Transgender Student Health Coverage Available at Kent State

Brad Gregg accesses the Deweese Health Center student insurance page.
Brad Gregg accesses the Deweese Health Center student insurance page.

The Deweese Center at the Kent Main campus has made a few changes this year in policy, most notably, its coverage of trans-students needs. Students who are seeking sex-reassignment therapy, including hormonal medication and sex-reassignment surgery, can now be covered through ‘s Insurance. Fusion magazine spoke with Dr. Angela DeJulius, director of University Health Services, about the change, why it was made, and what students can expect.

“This year’s policy covers gender-reassignment surgery up to $50,000 a year.” DeJulius said. “To us that wasn’t a huge change. We always go through the policy and make little tweaks, like it may not have covered acne treatment in the past. There’s always a few conditions that are excluded so we always review that and say ‘wait a minute, that’s common among college students, so we want to add that coverage.’ That’s what happened this year with surgery, we always excluded it and said “wait a minute that should be included.’”

DeJulius explained there’s a large book that includes everything the university covers and excludes from the health insurance policy. While it would be nice, the univesity simply can’t cover everything because that would drive up the cost too much, so things will be brought in and removed to meet student needs. Something like infertility isn’t covered, for instance, and is instead considered an elective. This year, while looking over this massive book, it was decided that gender reassignment surgery should be added.

Brad Gregg is among many students considering joining the student health plan thanks to this change.

Brad Gregg is among many students considering joining the student health plan thanks to this change.

Transgender students thinking sex-reassignment surgery is necessary for them will be happy to know this is covered as well. Counseling will likely be required prior to any kind of surgical treatment. Both hormone replacement medication and surgeries are now covered.

Students unsure of their gender, who think they may need psychological counseling can go to Deweese for one-on-one advising. “The Affordable Care Act, which is federal law, has a list of ten essential services that have to be covered, and mental health is one of them.” DeJulius said. “Maternity care is also one of them. So you can no longer buy a policy that excludes maternity care, you can no longer say ‘I’m a man I don’t want to pay for pregnancy care.’ Every policy has to cover preexisting conditions, has to cover mental health, has to cover prevention services like immunization.”

There were no significant changes made to the policy itself. It’s a Unitedhealthcare plan just like last year, and there is no price increase.

Students should note that, like any surgery, it’s a case-by-case basis. Those looking to meet with someone for sex-reassignment surgery will have to go through prior screening to determine its necessity.

The new coverage policy came with the primary change to the policy, the decision to make insurance mandatory for international students. Some of the international students can waive out of it, as some student’s governments sponsor them fully. So long as those sponsorship include paying for health insurance and meets our minimum criteria they are allowed to waive out.

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