Headlines – County Executive Pittman announces inclusion of gender affirmation services in medical benefits for new county employees

Transgender employees and dependents can now access gender-affirming care and medical management services

Annapolis, MD (January 28, 2021) – Anne Arundel County Manager Steuart Pittman today announced that new Anne Arundel County employee health benefits, offered through Aetna, will include gender-affirming healthcare for employees and dependents. The new employee medical benefits went into effect on January 1, 2022 after internal announcements and employee briefings.

“Providing our LGBTQ+ employees and residents with the support they need is essential to our mission to make Anne Arundel County the best place for everyone,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “Now our employees and their families will have access to the care they need to live freely as they are.”

Joe Toolan, President of Annapolis Pride, said, “We are grateful to the county executive for their leadership in transgender and transition health care. Lawmakers in 32 states are actively blocking or failing to provide this essential medical care. Research demonstrates that gender-affirming care designed to affirm individuals’ gender identity significantly improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender-diverse, transgender, and non-binary people. The reality is that gender-affirming healthcare saves lives and we are proud of this major victory for our county employees.

Anne Arundel County Medical Benefits supports gender-affirming medical management services, including pre-certification, care management, and behavioral health services. When someone needs gender-affirming surgery, Aetna performs reviews of the medical necessity and benefits of the procedure, and assists them with care management and patient support before and after surgery. They also have a clinical pharmacist on their care team who can help with questions about hormone therapy medications.

“Access to gender-affirming medical care is an essential part of health insurance benefits for transgender people,” said Abbie Ellicot, President of WISE LGBTQ+ Advocacy Huddle. “We commend the County Executive and its administration for including these important employee benefits and for continuing the important work around diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Through the blanket, participants can receive education on their transition options and ongoing emotional and mental support. Employees can also be referred to counseling, local behavioral health program support groups and online resources.

“These new medical benefits will help ensure that we meet the health coverage needs of all of our staff,” said Anne Budowski, Director of People.

Employees who have questions or need more information about gender affirmation services offered through their county medical benefits should visit aacounty.aetna.com or contact Aetna Member Services at 1-855 -222-2774.

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