Service Workers International Union (SEIU) Insurance Pays for Sex Change

A female who identifies as male works at a hospital in New York as a cleaning and sanitation specialist. He is a member of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East. He has health insurance through the union’s self-insured plan. Two years ago when he sought authorization for his hysterectomy, he was told that it would not be covered. According to the union, “gender re-assignment surgery is not a covered benefit.” However, the union’s health plan does not contain a clause prohibiting gender transition-related care. Upon closer look (and with, shall we say “encouragement” from the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund), the SEIU changed its tune. Now, the official SEIU position is that it is “not the policy of our health funds to exclude coverage for gender reassignment.”

Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at