OPERATIONS

Starbucks adds more benefits for transgender employees

BY Marianne Wilson

Starbucks Corp. has extended the benefits it offers transgender associates.

The coffee giant’s health insurance plans have offered coverage for gender reassignment surgery since 2012. On Monday, the retailer said it now also offering coverage for a host of procedures for transgender partners that were previously considered cosmetic, and therefore not covered, such as breast reduction or augmentation surgery, facial feminization, and more.

“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 Ron Crawford, VP of benefits at Starbucks. “I view this as a diagnosis with a treatment path.”

To develop the new benefits, Crawford and Alyssa Brock, Starbucks’ benefits director, reached out last year to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). Starbucks was the first company in the world to ask WPATH to help translate their recommended standards of care into a medical benefits policy, said Jamison Green, the immediate past president of WPATH, who worked with the company on the benefits package.

“Starbucks was not afraid to ask all the right questions and demand that people get the best possible care,” said Green. “We produced a list of the most crucial benefits and those that are deemed problematic to insurance companies, such as facial feminization and electrolysis.”

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