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How to Build an LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Benefits Plan

June 13, 2022 | By 20/20 Onsite
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Creating an inclusive workplace requires more than just a diverse employee base. While it’s important to hire a diverse team, employers must also provide the same level of benefit support to all employees regardless of their gender, sexuality, or race. In honor of LGBTQIA+ Pride month, we put together a list of what to include in an inclusive benefits plan.

Inclusive mental health services

The demand for comprehensive mental health benefits has grown substantially in recent years, but LGBTQIA+ employees have unique mental health needs that not all providers are equipped to deal with. 

LGBTQIA+ individuals may struggle with feelings of rejection from their past, bullying, or even hate crimes. To get the best care possible, LGBTQIA+ employees need access to providers who are well-informed and empathetic to their unique challenges.

Recommended reading: See what some of our team members had to say about the value of mental health care benefits in our Q&A.

Coverage for gender-affirming medical care

Support for gender-affirming health care is pivotal to the mental and physical health of transgender individuals. Research by The Trevor Project found that gender-affirming care is linked to improved mental health outcomes among transgender and nonbinary individuals. 

With mental health conditions affecting transgender individuals four times more often than their cisgender peers, gender-affirming care is a necessity. In fact, due to their findings, the Trevor Project declares that gender-affirming medical care is, “not only ethical but medically necessary.”

Easy access to LGBTQIA+ inclusive care providers

Many LGBTQIA+ individuals prefer to receive care from providers within their community–or providers with a proven track record of allyship. However, digging through provider directories is challenging enough on its own–let alone when you’re searching specifically for LGBTQIA+ friendly care providers. 

Numerous healthcare systems including Lifebridge Health and Johns Hopkins Medicine have built LGBTQIA+ provider lists and resource centers. By partnering with insurance providers, employers can build a directory of inclusive care teams and resources for their LGBTQIA+ employees.

Inclusive family-forming benefits

Employer support for family-forming benefits like egg-freezing, in vitro fertilization, and surrogacy has been growing for years. A CNBC report revealed that 42% of employers offered IVF coverage–up from 36% in 2015. Unfortunately, many of these benefit plans lack adequate coverage for LGBTQIA+ patients who often don’t meet the insurance provider’s criteria for coverage. 

The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that LGBTQIA+ individuals often encounter major barriers to family-forming services due to the high costs and strict coverage criteria, which often only provides coverage in the event of infertility. Employers can help address this disparity by opting for inclusive family-forming benefits.

Retirement benefits

LGBTQIA+ individuals and their families not only face disparities in healthcare and insurance coverage but also in retirement planning. LGBTQIA+ couples often have less money saved for retirement. In fact, while straight couples report a median retirement savings of $88,000, LGBTQIA+ couples report saving $66,000. 

Many factors contribute to this disparity including the fact that they make less money throughout their lifetime. By providing comprehensive retirement benefits, LGBTQIA+ employees can gain access to coverage that helps alleviate the planning gap. 

Ensure the enrollment process is equal

Another factor to consider in addition to the benefits themselves is how your team will go about signing up for them. Enrollment requirements should be equal for all employees. LGBTQIA+ individuals shouldn’t have to produce additional documentation to receive the same benefits as their peers. 

Offer efficient on-site care options

Navigating health care can be challenging–and having to dedicate paid time off to appointments adds yet another burden. At 20/20 Onsite, we prioritize customer satisfaction and convenience. Companies like Gillette, Pfizer, and more have partnered with 20/20 Onsite to provide employees with on-site eye care. 

With a busy schedule, making time for doctor’s appointments can be challenging. On-site care allows employees to feel supported and improves their health outcomes. Plus, the 20/20 Onsite team is committed to ensuring each patient has an excellent experience–regardless of their unique culture or background.

Learn more about building employee benefits programs for the contemporary workforce

How 20/20 Onsite can help 

As we’ve demonstrated throughout this blog, LGBTQIA+ individuals often face many barriers to adequate care. Fortunately, employers can break down these barriers by partnering with patient-centered providers like 20/20 Onsite. Contact us today to learn about the benefits of scheduling onsite vision care with our Mobile Vision Clinics. 


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