N.J. university healthcare plans to cover genital reconstruction surgery

Students at several New Jersey colleges will now be funding genital reconstructive surgery and other sex reassignment benefits through a new university-backed healthcare package

The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Rowan University, Montclair State University (MSU), Kean University, and Rutgers University are on a growing list of colleges and universities that will offer the additional services for transgender students.

The healthcare plans, offered at TCNJ, Rowan, and Montclair though UnitedHealthcare, will include counseling, hormone therapy, genital surgeries, and secondary sex characteristics.

At Rutgers University, the surgical procedures will be extended only after students meet certain eligibility requirements, including 12 months of continuous experience in the desired gender.

Emily Dodd, a spokeswoman for The College of New Jersey, said the plans include the new gender identity disorder coverage “because we feel that it is in line with our initiatives around diversity and inclusion."

“By providing these benefits, we also hope to alleviate the health risks of transgender students, which can include depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and poor academic and work performance,” Brian Edwards, coordinator of MSU’s LGBTQ Center, told NJ.com.

Earlier this year, MSU announced “with great pride” the inclusion of “gender-confirming” surgery coverage in its student health plans. However, the university’s LGBTQ Center noted in a Facebook post that the language being used by the media to describe the change is not inclusive.

“The appropriate language should have been ‘gender dysphoria.’ It would have been nice to have seen more inclusive language... like gender identity coverage or trans-related healthcare, etc.,” the post read.

Students are not required to have a healthcare plan to attend school after New Jersey lawmakers amended a state law in 2013. However, the legislature does require all state universities to offer healthcare plans.

Rowan University, Kean University, and The College of New Jersey require all full-time students to purchase a health insurance plan, either through the school or on the market.

The College of New Jersey, Rowan University, Montclair State University, Kean University and Rutgers University did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.

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