Aon plc (NYSE: AON), the leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, today announced that it has expanded its employee private healthcare scheme in the UK to include cover for gender dysphoria. The scheme is administered by Bupa, one of the UK’s leading healthcare specialists.

Gender dysphoria is a diagnosable condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their sex assigned at birth and their gender identity, and feels uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth.

Despite a rapid increase in the number of people experiencing gender dysphoria, frequent gaps in insurance coverage have hindered many individuals from receiving adequate treatment. Dr. James Palmer, Medical Director for Specialised Services of NHS England, stated at the 2018 Westminster Social Policy Forum that referrals for gender dysphoria to the NHS have increased by around 240 percent over the last five-year period.

Aon has already demonstrated its commitment to the provision of adequate cover to individuals experiencing gender dysphoria. In 2016, it developed one of the UK market’s first gender dysphoria coverage solutions. The product was first introduced by Lloyds Banking Group, making it the first UK-based company to offer gender dysphoria cover to employees through a private healthcare scheme.

David Battle, CEO of Employee Benefits UK, Aon said:

“Diversity is the foundation on which we have built our world-class organisation. Given our commitment to an inclusive culture, we have chosen to introduce gender dysphoria cover within our own benefits package. This is a significant change to our scheme and enables members to access different levels of professional treatment, which could include counselling and support services through to surgical procedures.”

He continued:

“Gender dysphoria is a recognised medical condition, yet it is excluded from many employers’ private healthcare schemes. We believe this is wholly inappropriate. The late James Kenrick, who served as our Head of Health Care Consulting Services, was a pioneer in bringing gender dysphoria cover to our clients and developed one of the market’s first coverage solutions. We will continue to build on this legacy and are proud to be leading the industry in providing such inclusive benefits for Aon colleagues in the UK.”