CINCINNATI — Cincinnati will cover transgender health needs under its city insurance plan starting next year, the Enquirer, a Cincinnati Gannett paper, reports.
Officials said they plan to promote the change as a way to lure people to the region.
“Since I’ve been here I’ve worked to make this city as competitive and inclusive as possible,” the paper quoted Chris Seelbach, the city’s first out councilman, as having said. “This is a another step in that direction.” Seelbach led a council majority in signing a letter urging the change.
Cincinnati would be the first city in Ohio to offer transgender procedures such as gender reassignment surgery, in its health benefits, according to a statewide advocacy group. Shane Morgan, founder and chair of TransOhio, which provides education and advocacy, praised city officials.
“For Cincinnati to cover their trans employees – because there are trans employees who work there – is great,” Morgan was quoted as having said. “Hopefully cities elsewhere in Ohio will follow that.”
Including transgender procedures should give Cincinnati a score of 100 on the HRC Municipal Equality Index, making Cincinnati one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the country. Last year, Cincinnati scored a 90, the Enquirer article said.
Interim Cincinnati City Manager Scott Stiles initiated the transgender insurance change, but was encouraged to act by a majority of City Council.
As interim city manager, Stile made the decision, alerting Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of the change Aug. 22, the article said.