America's Largest Supermarket Chain Will Soon Offer Transgender Health Benefits to Employees

The Kroger Company, a grocery chain and one of the largest private employers in the U.S., will begin offering transgender health benefits in 2016.

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Beginning in 2016, the Kroger Company will begin offering transgender health benefits to employees enrolled in their Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield (Anthem BCBS) insurance plan. The covered benefits will reportedly include "surgery and drug therapy for gender reassignment," according to a recently leaked internal announcement. The Anthem BCBS plan will provide such coverage up to a $100,000 lifetime maximum for eligible employees and any potential dependents.

Though this announcement is indeed a big deal for transgender Kroger workers and the future of trans-inclusive health benefits at large, the move also makes strong fiscal sense for not only Kroger, but any company. "Rolling out benefits such as transgender-inclusive health care coverage makes good business sense," Deena Fidas, head of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program, tells the Daily Beast. "What company wants to lose a valued employee to a competitor—incurring turnover and other costs—simply because of a lack of inclusive health care coverage? LGBT-inclusive policies and practices are increasingly important to remaining competitive in today’s marketplace."

With many gigantic employers in America still holding out on providing such benefits, or ignoring their necessity altogether, Kroger’s future-conscious move could provide the necessary push for eventually making trans-inclusive health benefits a reality for workers all across the country.

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