Sun Life Financial has rolled out gender affirmation surgery cover to people whose employers hold healthcare policies with the company.
The Canadian financial services business will reimburse plan members all the expenses covered by their workplace plan.
Gender affirmation differs from gender reassignment surgery, as it focuses on the physical features – such as voice and facial bone structure – associated to a specific gender.
Basic and standard transitioning procedures are usually covered for transgender people in Canada. However, they might not cover procedures aimed at feminising or masculinising a person’s features.
Employers can offer two different types of cover:
- Core coverage would pay for basic surgical procedures that are not included in the individual, provincial or territorial healthcare plans – for instance Adam’s apple reduction and voice surgery would fall under this plan; or
- Enhanced coverage to provide additional surgical procedures such as facial bone reduction or cheek augmentation.
“We know there can be a significant impact on an individual’s mental, emotional and physical well-being when they do not feel connected to their gender,” said Marie-Chantal Côté, vice-president of market development at Sun Life Financial Canada.
“Gender affirmation procedures and hormone therapies can help a person feel empowered to align their body with their gender expression.”
“When it comes to health and wellness, we understand that no two needs are the same, which is why we continue to evolve and diversify our health benefit plans, helping to meet the needs of all Canadians,” said Dave Jones, senior vice-president of group benefits at Sun Life Financial Canada.
“Having additional support through gender affirmation can make a meaningful difference and help plan members live happier and healthier lives.”
The offerings will be available to employers who wish to add them to Sun Life’s Extended Health Care plans, from April 2019.