Pitt adds gender reassignment surgery to employee health coverage
The University of Pittsburgh has expanded its employee healthcare coverage to provide transgender-related healthcare services, including gender reassignment surgery and hormone medications.
According to The Pitt News, the public institution sent out a letter earlier this month to faculty and staff regarding the coverage, stating that it puts the University into compliance with the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ recent final ruling relating to sex discrimination in employment.
According to the letter, Pitt’s federal government contracts compel the university to comply with that legal interpretation, which adds transgender individuals to the list of protected classes covered by a 1965 Executive Order on sexual discrimination.
To that end, the university says it will expand transgender benefits to include "behavioral health support, medications such as hormones, and surgery."
The letter briefly mentions the possibility of the new coverage raising the cost of a faculty member or employee’s monthly medical premium, but says it expects very few people to actually take advantage of the option, adding that there is no “comprehensive data” on costs due to the lack of organizations and universities actually implementing such coverage.
Pitt has recently made strides to become more inclusive, including a new policy that permits everyone to use the bathroom of their choice while on campus.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion even published a primer on "Gender Transition Guidelines for Faculty and Staff" on the university’s website, which seeks to “foster an understanding of transgender issues in the workplace and guidance on how to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for individuals transitioning in the University.”
Moreover, the university requires community members to submit to “The Pitt Promise: A Commitment to Civility,” which includes a pledge to support the “culture of diversity on campus.”
The civility pledge contributed to Pitt receiving a “Yellow Light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The organization also cites the school’s policy on Bias and Hate Speech, which states that “bias incidents may or may not be hate crimes,” as justification for the mediocre rating.
Pitt’s decision to expand its employee health coverage follows similar actions at other schools, such as Vanderbilt University, which added coverage for transgender health to its student health insurance coverage in June.
Pitt’s first day of the Fall Semester begins on Monday, August 29, where the University will debut Ruskin Hall as its first gender-neutral dormitory.
Follow this author on Twitter: @marl_boro26