Students want new healthcare option

By Anthony Antoine |

Published 03/02 2014 06:50PM

Updated 03/03 2014 10:25AM

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- Students at UI want gender reconstruction surgery to be a part of their health insurance. Eight schools in the Big Ten cover hormone therapy under the student health insurance. Five cover both gender reconstruction surgery and hormone therapy which follows, including the University of Illinois Chicago.

UIUC student Justin Ostrowski says "The University of Illinois Chicago's fee is $4.50."

That's how much the transgender coverage costs, in comparison to the $2.22 it would cost per undergraduate student in Urbana Champaign. Students are trying to see that change.

"Every six years the student health insurance is reviewed and renewed, but because of the Affordable Care Act mandates we needed to do it again this year."

It gave students a window to ask for transgender surgeries to be covered under the university’s health insurance. They were concerned the new healthcare package wouldn’t make its way to the Board of Trustee so they protested.

"This is what the student want. You all were looking for students' participation and student input because this is something they were concerned about and we showed them that students actually care about this," says Ostrowski.

Ostrowski says the Board of Trustees has reservations. They say it’s a sterilizing process and students may need parental consent. Others think paying for the gender reconstruction surgery should be something they can opt out of. Supporters of this new healthcare plan say the change will draw students to the university.

"This is something that’s very important to college students because they’re a higher proportion of tran’s people in college communities. At the moment the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign is not a place where everybody can have their medical needs met, academically and socially."

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