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Salt Lake County Council passes transgender employee health coverage

On Tuesday, the Salt Lake County Council passed a proposal to provide health care coverage for transgender employees.

The half-hour discussion, titled “Employee Benefit and Healthcare Update and Health Benefit Request,” was presented by Salt Lake County Human Resources Director Michael Ongkiko and benefits coordinator Carolyn Campbell.

The benefit will take effect in 30 days and will cover mental health services, hormone treatments, reassignment surgeries and corrective surgeries.

“I’m pretty excited and happy that we accomplished this,” said Councilmember Arlyn Bradshaw.

Bradshaw said the request came last fall from a group of employees who were denied the services from the health insurance providers.

“I would have assumed, incorrectly so, that our insurance would have covered these services,” Bradshaw said. “The County has a nondiscrimination ordinance that covers transgender employees. I made the argument that we were violating that ordinance.”

Bradshaw tried to pass the services administratively, but County lawyers determined it would need Council approval.

The proposal was first put on the agenda in June, but was pulled to work out some issues that more conservative members of the Council had.

Councilman Steve DeBry, R-South Jordan/Riverton, moved to table the proposal because two Republican councilmembers were not present. That motion failed 4–3 and the bill was put up for a vote, passing 4–3.

Salt Lake County offers full-time employees both a high-deductible health plan at no cost and a traditional health plan at an annual cost of $1,188 to the employee. Part time employees pay $1,656 and $2,376 annually for the respective plans.

This story was updated after the proposal was passed.

 

 

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