Rumor: Brown University's student health plan to cover sex changes

Benefit is part of a broader effort "to support all students" at school

CONFIRMED: Brown official's email to student newspaper details new policy

The Brown Student Health Insurance Plan will cover 14 different sexual reassignment procedures beginning in August, The Brown Daily Herald learned via email from a school official. Brown is one of a handful of universities and health care providers to cover the surgeries. According to The Herald, fellow Ivy League schools Cornell, Harvard and Penn, as well as Stanford cover at least some sex-change surgeries.

A single sexual reassignment surgery, along with hormone therapy and other physical alterations, can cost up to $50,000. Brown's coverage plan will go into effect next school year.

"We identified this as an important benefit for students to have access to," Director of Insurance and Purchasing Services Jeanne Hebert wrote in her email to the Brown student newspaper.

(Click here to read more accounts of the story.)

Critics line up

According to The Atlantic Wire, conservative news sites and blogs had a field day with the transgender insurance report, with one critic even taking a shot at Obamacare.

Sea change

The LGBTQ Center at Brown has been pushing for this level of coverage for years, said the center's coordinator, Kelly Garrett.  Insurance companies tend to label these types of procedures cosmetic and exclude them from their coverage plans, she said.

"I know people where it's taken them 10 years because they needed to save money," she told The Herald.

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