Firms start offering gender reassignment surgery as health benefit as war breaks out between Netflix, Facebook and Tesla Motors to be the most diverse

  • More U.S. firms are offering workers gender reassignment as health benefit
  • Study shows 415 American companies out of 780 surveyed offer treatment
  • Companies to start offering benefit include Netflix, Facebook and Tesla
  • Coca Cola, Yahoo and American Express has expanded insurance coverage for workers 

An increasing number of American firms are adding gender reassignment surgery to its list of health benefits for employees in a bid to show they welcome a diverse workforce.

More and more companies are now covering their workers for procedures such as sex-reassignment and hormone therapies to show they promote an inclusive atmosphere.

But experts say it is an inexpensive way for companies to show they want to be inclusive, knowing the vast majority of their employees will never use them.

The headquarters of Netflix in Los Gatos California. According to a new study, employees working for the firm are offered gender reassignment as part of their health benefits 

The headquarters of Netflix in Los Gatos California. According to a new study, employees working for the firm are offered gender reassignment as part of their health benefits 

In a study by the Human Rights Campaign, 415 U.S. firms out of the 780 surveyed said employee health benefits include gender reassignment therapies and surgery.

This is double the number of firms offering the same benefits in 2012 and up from just 49 in 2009.  

According to Bloomberg Business, among the companies to start offering such benefits this year are Netflix, Facebook and Tesla Motors.

Other corporate giants including Coca Cola, Yahoo!, American Express, Goldman Sachs and AT&T had previously said they would expand their insurance coverage for transgender employees.

And James Baron, a professor who studies human resources at the Yale School of Management believes several well-known firms are offering the benefits to try and outdo each other.

He told Bloomberg Business: 'It becomes a bit of a rat race as to who can out-commit whom with diversity initiatives.

'Committing to this form of equality allows a company to put another arrow in its quiver without terribly profound cost implications.'

Another study had found that only one in 20,000 employees uses the gender reassignment benefits with an average claim cost of just under $30,000.

Facebook employees are also offered gender reassignment as part of their health insurance as are those working at Coca Cola, Yahoo and American Express

Facebook employees are also offered gender reassignment as part of their health insurance as are those working at Coca Cola, Yahoo and American Express

The trend in companies employing diversity policies comes amid the U.S. Supreme Court legalising same-sex marriage earlier this year and the high profile transition of Caitlyn Jenner.

It also follows a concerted push by transgender rights advocates to get employers and insurers to see sex reassignment the way the American Medical Association does - as a medically indicated rather than an optional procedure.

Meanwhile the American government has proposed new guidelines that would not allow health insurance companies to categorically deny some gender reassignment treatments.

Andre Wilson, who counsels companies on transgender issues with San Francisco-based Green and Associates, said: 'We understand people simply get appendicitis, and it is something our community deals with through insurance.

'That's what we need to understand about transsexualism.

'Not everybody will be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder, and in fact, few people will be. But the people who are diagnosed with it really need treatment.'

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