Google’s trans health benefits now cover transitioning procedures and treatment in accordance with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (WPATH) Standards of Care, and include gender reassignment surgical procedures determined to be medically necessary by a doctor. Some of the procedures covered by Google’s health care plan include genital surgery as well as facial feminization for transgender women and pectoral implants for transgender men — surgeries that can be considered medically necessary depending on the “unique clinical situation of a given patient’s condition and life situation,” according to WPATH’s seventh version of care standards, published in September.
Google also has more than doubled the maximum dollar amount for transgender health care benefits, from $35,000 to $75,000, the minimum amount required for a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2012 Corporate Equality Index. The benefits are covered by the company’s existing insurance providers and apply to domestic employees. Google is considering extending similar benefits to international employees, though it does not currently have a timeline for doing so.
In June, Google joined a small but growing list of companies that offer additional salary for gay employees whose domestic-partner health insurance benefits are taxed as income by the federal government — a result of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. In the practice, known in benefits parlance as “gross-ups,” employers reimburse workers for the added tax incurred, which averages around $1,069 a year, according to a 2007 study by UCLA’s Williams Institute.
“We’re always looking for new ways to create a more inclusive culture and support our employees,” said Sarah Stuart, program manager of Google’s global diversity and inclusion team. “The decision to improve our benefits for our LGBT employees started as a grassroots effort driven by the Gayglers, who worked closely with our benefits team.”