West Palm Beach Adds Trans Benefits to Employee Health Plan

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Transgender procedures are now covered under the City of West Palm Beach’s employee health plan.

“Our city has always taken equality very seriously and has for a long time moved forward with measures that will equal give consideration to the LGBT community. Even mayors that were here 15 years ago were doing forward thinking things,” said West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio. She added that the city wants to attract the best employees and for the LGBT community to “feel like West Palm Beach is a great place to work.”

Effective July 1, city employees, who have been diagnosed as having gender dysphoria, are eligible to have certain procedures covered under the city’s health plan, provided by Cigna. Included for both male-to-female and female-to-male employees is pre- and post-surgical hormone therapy, orchiectomy, mastectomy, abdominal hysterectomy, vaginoplasty and vaginectomy.

Related: No New Health Benefits For Trans Folks in Wilton Manors

Cosmetic procedures, including breast implants, pectoral implants, calf implants, electrolysis, collagen injections, hair implantation and liposuction are not covered. To be eligible, an employee must have worked for the city for at least a year. Employees must also contribute something for the transgender coverage. The cost to the city, said Muoio, won’t fully be known until next year.

In June, Miami Beach became the first city in Florida to cover transgender benefits as part of its health plan. In April, citing cost, the majority of Wilton Manors commissioners declined to add coverage for transgender individuals to their city’s health plan. Commissioner Julie Carson proposed adding the benefits and said it was “disgraceful” the city did not provide benefits. “The T is not left behind,” said Commissioner Justin Flippen.

In a press release, The Palm Beach County Human Rights Campaign [PBCHRC] said it had been working with Muoio for over a year on adding transgender care.

Related: Letter to the Editor: Transgender Healthcare Discrimination Must End

“The City of West Palm Beach is the first public employer in Palm Beach County to offer transition related care benefits for its employees. Once again, Mayor Jeri Muoio has taken the lead on the provision of LGBT healthcare benefits which are often ignored – or rejected – by employers throughout the United States. When we learned that the city was considering becoming self-insured for health care benefits, the time appeared right to address implementing trans care,” wrote Rand Hoch, PBCHRC president and founder of PBCHRC. “Rather than waiting for the city's self-insurance program to go into effect, Mayor Muoio persuaded Cigna to include trans care benefits.”

Muoio has a history of supporting LGBT individuals, including placing a ban on city employee travel to North Carolina, in response to that state’s controversial bathroom law, and raising the Pride flag at half-staff to honor the individuals murdered at Pulse nightclub in Orlando last month.

To see the full list of transgender procedures offered by West Palm Beach, visit

http://files.ctctcdn.com/0d783e78001/1abe4a8c-5470-41d7-afd1-b35da6c4ce77.pdf


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