Sexual reassignment surgery for transgendered students will be covered in students’ health care plans, effective this Fall.


Administrators signed a new contract with Duke’s health insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, that will include up to $50,000 to cover sexual reassignment surgery, Dean of Students Sue Wasiolek confirmed. With this new coverage, she said, all vital aspects of transgender health care—counseling, hormone therapy, and surgery—are now included in students’ plans.

“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,” said junior Sunny Frothingham, the incoming outreach chair for Blue Devils United. “This is a huge step forward for Duke.”

Each year, the Student Health Advisory Committee examines the Duke Student Medical Insurance Plan and reviews how students use the plan to determine if changes need to be made to the benefits provided to students, Wasiolek said.

She added that this is the last step in providing complete coverage to Duke’s transgender community.

“For the past several years, we have considered benefits for transgendered students, looking first at counseling and hormone therapy benefits, then at ‘top’ surgery benefits and most recently at ‘bottom’ surgery benefits,” Wasiolek said.

The additional coverage will have a “minimal” impact on cost to students, Wasiolek said. The coverage will cause a 0.3 percent increase to student costs.