One Equal World

Kroger to Provide Trans Health Care

Posted on: October 19, 2015

Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US, will begin offering transgender employees full health insurance coverage.

Photo: FlickrCC

Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the United States, confirmed on Wednesday that it will begin offering transgender employees full health insurance coverage for services related to gender transition starting on January 1, 2016.

This is a significant move for Kroger given its company size. The Cincinnati-based retailer is one of the country’s largest employers, with more than 400,000 workers across 2,500 stores. Large companies employing more than 1 million workers such as Walmart, McDonald’s or Yum! Brands (parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) do not yet offer a trans-inclusive health plan for their workers.

This change will heighten Kroger’s score on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) – a tool that measures the strength of LGBT corporate policies created by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). After Kroger’s score changes, all except one of the top 10 largest private employers in the country will score a 90 or above on the CEI.

Benefits will include surgery and drug therapy for gender reassignment as part of its employee health plan to those enrolled in the company-sponsored Anthem Blue Cross Blue Cross Shield insurance plan. The Anthem BCBS plan will provide health coverage up to $100,000 lifetime maximum for eligible associates and dependents – the coverage will not apply to Kroger employees who choose to receive insurance through the United Food and Commercial Worker’s Union.

Kroger employee and transgender woman Brittney McGannon is feeling optimistic about this change. “I am pretty excited. I never thought when I came out three years ago that with a little bit of work, I could help make a big change and help so many other people,” McGannon told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I never thought that would happen.”

Although the transgender community faces significant barriers to getting basic health care needs and continues to face discrimination when it comes to securing equal benefits, this is a big step for Kroger as they aim to remove these discriminatory walls. Regardless of sexual orientation or gender, all hardworking Americans deserve equal protections from discrimination – this includes being at home, at work, or in public places.

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