LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Starbucks Significantly Expands Health Care Plan To Cover Transgender Employees' Needs

"We would love to see more employers doing this."

Pride Month is ending with a milestone. Starbucks has announced that its new health care policy will cover more extensive procedures for transgender employees.

In a press release from June 25, the company revealed that it worked with World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) to come up with its new health insurance plan. Jamison Green, the immediate past president of WPATH, reveals that Starbucks was the first company in the world to ask WPATH to "help translate their recommended standards of care into a medical benefits policy." The coffee chain also spoke with trans employees to understand their needs.

Starbucks had previously covered gender reassignment surgery since 2012, but the updated plan offers more extensive coverage for transgender employees and partners. Things that were previously considered "cosmetic," and therefore not covered, will be under the new plan. They include breast reduction, breast augmentation, hair transplants, augmentation surgery, facial feminization, and more.

The Evening Standard reports that it's believed Starbucks is the first corporation in the world to cover such medical costs.

"Nobody else is doing this," echoed Ron Crawford, vice president of benefits at Starbucks. "We would love to see more employers doing this."

The company sought to update the policy for greater equality and freedom. "The approach was driven not just by the company's desire to provide truly inclusive coverage, and by powerful conversations with transgender partners about how those benefits would allow them to truly be who they are," said Crawford.

In the press release, Starbucks shared the story of employee Tate Buhrmester, who is a transgender male and has used the company's trans benefits. Hearing and having access to the coverage is very important to him.

"It makes trans people feel like they are people," said Buhrmester. "Like they matter and their health matters."

"Starbucks is taking a stand and standing up for trans people and saying that our procedures aren't just cosmetic – they are lifesaving. They're affirming." he continued.

He added that it's essential that cosmetics procedures aren't seen as optional because the surgeries are not considered optional for many transgender individuals. 

Starbucks' announcement has been met with praise on social media:

(H/T: Hello Giggles)

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