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LGBTQ+ Health Benefits

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Stanford University’s healthcare benefits encompass the broad needs of our diverse workforce to keep our employees, retirees, and their family members healthy. This guide highlights benefits available to Stanford University LGBTQ+ employees. While the benefits listed below are available and utilized by all employees, including non-LGBTQ+ individuals, these services are critically important to providing care and support to this valued community. This page seeks to provide general guidance on key benefits and how to best navigate the system. 

Gender-affirming care

Care to help affirm gender can come in many forms. Plan policies will vary greatly. The following is a list of various kinds of care that are frequently requested:

  • Providers who specialize in transgender care
    • Examples include LGBTQ+ trained primary care and mental health care, including telemedicine options, medication monitoring – endocrinology, cardiology, oncology, psychiatry, etc.
  • Hormone therapy
  • Fertility treatment
  • Gender-affirming non-surgical medical interventions
  • Examples include: Letters for gender-affirming surgery, Psychotherapy, Voice therapy to align with gender identity, Hair reduction or elimination, Hair transplantation or regrowth, Pelvic floor therapy and other forms of physical therapy, Bodily movement coaching, Gender expression (makeup, clothing, socialization, etc.)
  • Gender-affirming surgeries to align physical structures with gender identity
    • Examples include: Facial surgeries to change features of the face and neck, Top surgeries to change the chest and breast, Bottom surgeries to change genitals, and Body sculpting to enhance/reduce any area of the body (commonly hips, abdomen, butt, etc.)

LGBTQ+ related healthcare and other services

Care for issues important to LGBTQ+ health. The following is a list of various kinds of care frequently requested.

  • Mental and Behavioral health
    • The Stanford University Faculty Staff Help Center offers employees of the University, Stanford Health Care, Stanford Children’s Health, and their spouses and dependent children ten free annual counseling sessions and referral services for care thereafter. They also offer facilitated discussion groups for the Stanford LGBTQ+ community. 
    • Out-of-state employees can utilize an Employee Assistance Program through SupportLinc, for ten free counseling sessions (see Mental Health page link above).
  • STI screening and treatment, PREP
  • Family Building
    • Examples include Surrogacy guidance, Fertility treatments, Adoption services, and Navigating legal documents.
  • Financial and Estate planning
  • Travel reimbursement for care that is not available close-by

Special note about In-Network Personal Navigators

For specific information about one’s plan, we encourage employees to contact their health plan’s in-network healthcare personal navigators. These individuals walk patients through their benefit options and support any unique needs that come along the way. In some cases, providers may have a specific office dedicated to supporting queer and trans patients. If you need additional information, employees can call their insurance providers directly (using the number on the back of their insurance card) to obtain more information. You may also use our Contact Us page.

Frequently Asked Questions See below for responses to frequently asked questions about benefits for LGBTQ+ employees.

Which insurance plan should I select? Or Which insurance plan is best for LGBTQ+ employees?

University HR Benefits cannot promote one plan over another, but we do provide a comparison tool to help you view common benefits of each medical plan side by side. You may also go to our My Benefits Portal, log in, click on the Main Menu at top and then click on Nayya to answer a few questions about your budget, who you cover, and how often you receive medical care and prescription drugs to get a specialized recommendation for which plan may work best for you.

For further guidance, we encourage employees to contact insurance providers directly to answer questions about potential care services. Furthermore, there are various LGBTQ+ employee support networks within the Stanford community  (i.e., the University, hospitals, laboratories,  etc.)–– feel free to contact and engage community members about their care and experiences with insurance providers. 

I want to expand my family. What do I do next?

The pathway to parenthood varies for each individual. Therefore, there are an array of resources to leverage in this journey, including:

All University employees have access to a  FertilityIQ membership, which provides exclusive webinars and full access to comprehensive courses and educational resources to inform your decisions and support your path to parenthood and/or family expansion. The University HR  WorkLife Office provides resources for new parents and growing families. Their programs include financial assistance for adoption for University employees and resource and referral consultation support for all Stanford affiliates. The Adoption assistance program includes funds (up to $10,000 per adoption) for second-parent adoption as well. MetLife Legal does provide some support on adoption, immigration, and other relevant areas for family building. For more information, see  here:…

Finally, we encourage employees to contact our University HR Service Team for what other possible benefits might exist for their unique needs.

I was denied coverage because my gender marker was not recognized. What do I do now?

Stanford University’s HR Benefits team has worked with our insurance providers so that you should not get denied for this reason. If this happens, please contact your UHR representative directly at 877-905-2985 or 650-736-2985 and they can help you work with your insurance plan to make sure benefits and claims are accurately processed based on your gender marker. 

Who can I contact within my insurance network to ask questions?

Call the number on the back of your insurance card—ask about what support systems are available to queer and trans patients within the network.   

My child or legal guardian is on my healthcare plan and needs access to the services listed above. (e.g., queer and gender-affirming care). Will they have access to everything?  

In general, healthcare plans do not have any restrictions on covered services for children or legal guardians. We encourage you to check your plan before medical appointments to ensure coverage. 

The services that I am seeking are not available locally. How do I receive out-of-area or out-of-state care?

Each health plan has a different network. If your network does not cover your particular need, they should direct you to another provider, which may involve travel. Review your health plan on its out-of-area guidance, and it will help you through this process.

I’m a postdoctoral fellow. Does this guidance apply to me?

Postdoctoral fellows are not University employees. There are differences in what benefits are made available to them. For more information, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs created a couple webpages to better support community members. See their LGBTQ+ page and their page for Transgender services.

What kind of elder care benefits do I have?

The WorkLife Office provides adult/elder care and caregiving resources and services. Many of these resources do not require proof of a biological or marital familial relationship and can be used for any adult or elder chosen family member for whom you have care responsibilities. Additionally, WorkLife partners with Avenidas to provide resources, referral services and a monthly caregiver discussion group. Avenidas has a group called the Rainbow Collective that offers case management, resources and assistance for LGBTQ+ seniors and their caregivers.