Students at the University of Maryland, College Park could have the cost of sex-change surgery covered by their health insurance next school year, joining a nationwide trend of private- and public-sector employers offering the benefit.
Insurance firms vying to cover the roughly 3,100 students who use the university health plan have been asked to structure proposals to cover sex reassignment surgery. The university expects to choose an insurance provider for the 2014-2015 school year this month.
Transgender-rights advocates say that because surgical gender reassignment is so rare, offering the benefit comes with minimal cost and could be a powerful recruitment and retention tool.
"Even just the possibility that students could obtain these services goes a long way toward providing a welcoming campus," said Joe Ehrenkrantz, the Student Government Association's diversity director.