Student complaints about campus health insurance have led to some major protests in the past couple years – Mizzou, anyone? – but cost of coverage is apparently less important than checking off social-justice boxes for University of California-Berkeley students.
The school just switched to Anthem Blue Cross after three years with Aetna, and according to the Daily Californian, the new coverage comes with
a wider variety of in-network providers, as well as increased coverage for dental and vision and new coverage for some transgender-related surgeries.
Yep, having the genitals and pecks you want is no different than being able to see in public and eat with your own teeth.
This isn’t terribly surprising at a place like Berkeley, and when I looked at our coverage of campus health insurance, I learned that Duke, Cornell, the University of Minnesota, Yale and Brown already cover these transgender-related surgeries. (Campus Pride has a full list of schools that cover “transition-related” expenses.)
The administration claims that the new covered services didn’t “significantly” increase the cost for students, but the Daily Cal suggests what might be on the chopping block in the next budget crunch: children of students.
The new changes, however, are not enough to justify switching from an outside provider for his almost 1-year-old son, said Marten Lohstroh, a graduate student who previously served on [the Student Health Insurance Advisory Commission]. He added that while the prices are far more equitable than in previous years, they are still a significant burden for graduate students supporting dependents.
“Because the plan does not differentiate between dependent children and dependent adults, insurance for children through SHIP is still prohibitively expensive for most student families, and found much cheaper elsewhere,” Lohstroh said in an email.
So to summarize: UC-Berkeley believes in heavily subsidizing the costs of getting new genitals and hormones for people who are otherwise healthy, but can’t be troubled to soften the financial blow of raising a family while enrolled.
It’s seems more likely that elite colleges will continue making it easier for students to end pregnancies – such as through abortion-pill coverage, which Berkeley activists demanded earlier this year – than widen their doors to welcome students who have chosen life, the most marginalized group on campus.
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