Gender Affirming Care Services

Gender Affirming Care

Columbia University provides enhanced gender-affirming benefits to you and your family through UnitedHealthcare (UHC). Whether you’re just starting to explore your options or are planning a procedure, this information may help you better understand how to maximize your benefits when getting care.

Individuals who have gender affirming health care needs often face disparities in the care they receive. To help navigate what can be a complex and confusing system, UnitedHealthcare has a team of specially-trained Care Advisors to guide you — and your family — through your benefits, coverage and care options.

UHC’s team of highly-trained Care Advisors take ownership of your inquiries and see them through to resolution; assisting not only with gender affirming care, but all of your health needs. Care Advisors provide compassionate, effective and comprehensive support regardless of where you are on your journey to health and well-being.


Surgical-affirmation services are covered for employees and their eligible dependents who are enrolled in a UnitedHealthcare health plan and:

  • Are at least 18 years old*
  • Have persistent, well-documented gender dysphoria
  • Have the ability to make a fully informed decision and consent to treatment
  • Have favorable psychosocial-behavioral evaluation(s) from qualified mental health professionals (1 for top surgery; 2 for bottom surgery)
  • Have lived in their identified gender for 12 months
  • Have completed 12 months of continuous, gender-affirming hormone therapy appropriate for their gender identity (unless not medically able to do so)

* For dependents under age 18, treatment of children and adolescents includes therapy and other mental health-related services and puberty suppression-related prescription medications.

Full benefits plan details are available in the Summary Plan Description (SPD).

Covered services include:

  • Behavioral health services
  • Fertility services
  • Hair-related services such as electrolysis and prescription medications
  • Hormone therapy and side effects of hormone therapy
  • Post-surgical follow-up
  • Surgery
    • Facial procedures
    • Chest procedures
    • Genital procedures
  • Voice modification training and therapy

UnitedHealthcare (UHC) Care Advisors are committed to helping you find quality, gender affirming care.  

To reach a UHC Care Advisor call 1-800-329-9166. Available Monday - Friday, 8 am - 11pm EST. Advisors can help you:

  • Get answers to your questions
  • Find network medical providers, including behavioral health providers, with expertise in gender-affirming care
  • Understand claims, referrals and the precertification authorization process
  • Get prescriptions
  • Connect you and family with behavioral providers before, during and after your care, or with other needs
  • Locate community resources
  • Detail your account with the name you would like to be addressed as 

For additional information on gender-affirming benefits, please contact Kamila Pavezzi, Columbia University Well-being Specialist, by email or phone 212-853-8102.