UA Panel Asks for Transgender Coverage

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A University of Arkansas benefits committee that advocates for faculty and staff is asking that gender-transition treatments be reinstated in the employee health care plan.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports the request in a March 7 letter comes after the university suspended the coverage offered briefly earlier this year. The university oversees a self-funded health care plan enrolling approximately 35,900 employees and family members from Fayetteville and other campuses.

A Dec. 31 injunction from a Texas judge halted federal enforcement of regulations developed under the Affordable Care Act. Those regulations prohibited health plans from automatically excluding gender-transition treatments from coverage.

University officials say the coverage that began Jan. 1 was in compliance with the regulations. They also say the benefits suspension could continue “pending the final legal outcome of the injunction or further clarification of the ACA coverage guidelines.”