Starbucks announces huge expansion of their health care coverage for trans employees

The rainbow pride flag atop the Starbucks headquarters in Seattle on Monday, Jne 23, 2014. Nate Gowdt, Nate Gowdy Photography)

Coffee giant Starbucks announced a new health care package for their transgender employees.

While Starbucks’ employee insurance plans have offered coverage for gender surgeries since 2012, their announcement expands this further, adding coverage for even more transgender care procedures.

The newly covered items include breast reduction or augmentation, facial feminization, hair transplants and other transgender-specific needs.

While many insurers claim such procedures are purely cosmetic or even experimental, transgender people themselves hail such as life saving.

Starbucks reached out to the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) for guidance on the new policies, seeking to provide the additional treatment as outlined in the WPATH standards of care.

Long-time transgender advocate Jamison Green, the past president of WPATH, worked with the company on their benefits plan.

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

Starbucks has long been touted as an LGBTQ-friendly employer, and received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) this year.

The coffee retailer has provided comprehensive workplace gender transition guidelines for nearly a decade, and offered health insurance for same-sex couples for over 20 years.

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