ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced yesterday that Anne Arundel County’s new employee medical benefits, offered through Aetna, will include gender-affirming health services for employees and dependents. The new employee medical benefits went into effect on January 1, 2022 after internal announcements and employee informational sessions.
“Providing our LGBTQ+ employees and residents with the support they need is critical to our mission of making Anne Arundel County The Best Place – For All,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “Now, our employees and their families will have access to the care they need to live freely as who they are.”
Joe Toolan, Chair of Annapolis Pride, said “We are grateful to the County Executive for leadership relating to transgender and transition related healthcare. Lawmakers in 32 states either actively block or fail to offer this critical medical care. Research demonstrates that gender-affirming care designed to affirm individuals’ gender identities greatly improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender diverse, transgender, and nonbinary people. The reality is, gender-affirming healthcare saves lives and we are proud of this major win for our county employees.”
Anne Arundel County’s medical benefits support gender-affirming medical management services, including precertification, care management, and behavioral health services. When a person is in need of gender-affirming surgery, Aetna performs the medical necessity and benefit reviews for 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 hormone therapy medication questions.
“Providing access to gender-affirming medical care is an essential component of health insurance benefits for transgender people,” said Abbie Ellicot, Chair of the WISE LGBTQ+ Advocacy Huddle. “We commend the County Executive and his administration for including these important benefits for employees and continuing the important work around diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Through the coverage, participants can receive education on their transition options and ongoing emotional and mental support. Employees can also be referred to counseling, behavioral health program local support groups, and online resources.
“These new medical benefits will help to ensure that we are meeting the health coverage needs of all the members of our workforce,” said Anne Budowski, Personnel Director.
Employees who have questions or need more information about gender-affirming services offered through their county medical benefits should visit aacounty.aetna.com or contact Aetna Member Services at 1-855-222-2774.