Google Sets New Industry Standard in Transgender Health Care Benefits
It’s nice to see an industry leader such as Google step out front on this important issue. Google’s stance will make it easier for other companies to follow suit and offer similar benefits, and, as a matter of competition, make it harder for other companies to refuse to do so. When employers in the same field are desperately fighting to poach top talent from each other, as they are (see the Microsoft bacon cart for more evidence of this trend), Google’s new policy sends a strong message about how they value all of their employees. It can only be a sign of better things to come in the high-tech world, and eventually across the entire corporate spectrum.
The updated benefits, announced internally by company officials on Friday and effective immediately, cover transitioning procedures and treatment in accordance with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) Standards of Care, and include gender reassignment surgical procedures determined to be medically necessary by a doctor.
Some of the procedures covered by Google’s health care plan include genital surgery, as well as facial feminization for transgender women and pectoral implants for transgender men — surgeries that can be considered medically necessary depending on the “unique clinical situation of a given patient’s condition and life situation,” according to WPATH’s seventh version of care standards, published in September.
The article goes on to say:
Google also has more than doubled the maximum dollar amount for transgender health care benefits, from $35,000 to $75,000, the minimum amount required for a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2012 Corporate Equality Index, which is expected to be released in the coming weeks. The benefits are covered by the company’s existing insurance providers and apply to domestic employees, Newman said. Google is considering extending similar benefits to international employees, though it does not currently have a timeline for doing so.