The student health insurance plan at Duke University will soon cover procedures for sexual reassignment surgery.
The university will be the first in North Carolina to cover the service, starting this fall. Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek says the student health advisory committee recommended the change to complement existing benefits.
"A couple of years ago, we made certain that we had appropriate counseling support and hormonal therapy covered in the insurance policy for students," says Wasiolek.
"And then most recently realized that that support was really incomplete for many of our students and we needed to make certain that all surgeries were covered by the insurance plan."
BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina tells Wasiolek the addition of sexual reassignment surgery will raise students' premiums by less than half of one percent. She says rates will go up by a total of eight percent due to changes from the Affordable Care Act and other enhanced benefits.