Featured LGBT Issues

UC Berkeley Releases Insurance Coverage For Laser Hair Removal For Transgender Students


For many individuals out there, beauty and body care is not just a part of their daily routine to look good, but also part of a process that helps theM feel comfortable in their own skin. Many transgender individuals, especially trans women, have to deal with the act of shaving, waxing, and plucking the many hairs on their body.

And that can be very demoralizing.

With that in mind, The University of California, Berkeley, made the decision to include laser hair removal for its transgender students in its health plan.

Laser hair removal, for those not incredibly familiar, uses an FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Association) approved laser system to destroy the hair follicle. This dramatically reduces hair amounts by 20% to 30% per session and takes about four to six weeks to complete.

Originally, neither laser hair removal nor fertility preservation, another clause in the proposed plan, are covered by insurance providers. Laser hair surgery is generally considered a cosmetic procedure, and not medically necessary. Thus, it doesn’t qualify for coverage.

The plan is for the 2017-2018 student year and has a rate of $1,415 for an undergraduate student, per semester. The rate for a graduate student is $2,231 per semester. The average cost of laser hair removal is $235 per session, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The number of sessions required can vary depending on the amount of hair, its thickness, and the desired results.

On the “insurance benefits for transgender students,” the university already is stated to cover hormone therapy, gender reassignment surgery, breast augmentation for transitioning women, “top surgery” for transitioning men, electrolysis, tracheal shave, and limited travel expenses.

It’s quite the comprehensive package for the students.

However, while the SHIP benefits do cover many cosmetic procedures, it does not cover liposuction, rhinoplasty, facelifts, or facial bone reconstruction therapy.

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