October 5, 2022 -
WATERLOO – Equitable Life of Canada announced today that it is introducing new coverage for gender affirmation surgical procedures that are not covered by provincial health plans. Available to Equitable Life group benefits plan sponsors, the coverage provides one more option to offer holistic support to plan members undergoing a gender transition.
“We are committed to offering solutions that support diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Marc Avaria, Senior Vice-President, Group at Equitable Life. “We’re introducing this coverage to help our clients provide more inclusive benefits plan offerings to their plan members.”
The benefit will enable plan members to claim expenses for surgical procedures that are not publicly covered, such as tracheal (Adam’s apple) shaving and voice surgery. It will also cover some additional procedures to further align the plan member’s features to the transitioned gender, such as facial bone reduction and cheek augmentation. Plan members are eligible for coverage with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from a qualified health care professional.
“This coverage supports plan sponsors wishing to close the gap where provincial health coverage ends,” said Avaria. “It makes a wider variety of gender-affirming surgeries accessible to plan members and helps minimize their out-of-pocket costs.”
Equitable Life has developed the coverage as a complement to its existing coverage options, including Health Care Spending Accounts (HCSAs), Taxable Spending Accounts (TSAs), Extended Health Care and drug coverage and Employee and Family Assistance Programs, all of which can provide support to plan members undergoing gender affirmation.
Gender affirmation procedures can also lead to improved mental health outcomes for those with gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria occurs when a person’s assigned sex at birth does not match their identity, and people experiencing gender dysphoria typically report psychological and emotional distress, including symptoms of depression or anxiety. Many who seek surgery report an improvement in their quality of life following the procedures.
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