DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University has announced it will begin offering student health insurance coverage for gender confirmation surgery. The university joins a handful of other institutions offering similar coverage, though the University of North Carolina System currently does not.
The new plan just signed by Duke will include up to $50,000 to cover gender confirmation surgery, according to The Duke Chronicle. The school’s insurance vendor is Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Coverage will begin this fall.
“The addition of sexual reassignment surgery with a $50,000 cap makes Duke’s student health care plan one of the most, if not the most, transgender-inclusive plans in the country,” Sunny Frothingham told The Chronicle. Frothingham is the incoming outreach chair of Blue Devils United, a campus LGBT undergraduate advocacy group.“This is a huge step forward for Duke.”
Blue Devils United President Jacob Tobia said Duke’s decision will help recruit students.
“This is really important symbolically for the Duke community,” said Tobia. “I hope that this will help us remain really competitive as an institution when recruiting students, because I know that in the past we have had transgendered students that have been extremely successful at Duke, including merit scholars.”
The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Daily Tar Heel reports that campus officials at the flagship state university have considered similar coverage in the past. It won’t be available next year, but campus officials say they will advocate for changes in the future.