Trans Health Care & Health Insurance

 As of August 18, 2013, the USC Student Health Insurance Plan will cover transgender medical needs; coverage includes clinician visits, medication, surgeries, diagnostic testing for pre-op and more. For more specific health insurance coverage information, please visit Aetna Student Health. For additional information about the transgender health benefits, please email

Medical Services at Engemann Student Health Center

Every transgender person has a different story and may be at a different stage in their transition with different needs and expectations. For that reason, Engemann strongly recommends that all patients make an appointment with a primary care clinician with experience in transgender care so that they can get to know you, review your medical history, and work with you to get the assistance that you need. You may schedule an appointment online or call the appointment office.

The Medical Trans Team at Engemann Student Health Center has a special interest and training in transgender-related health care inquiries and referrals:

  • Dr. Patty Pinanong
  • Dr. Lisa Richardson
  • Dr. William Leavitt
  • Dr. Lori Walker

Make an appointment.

Questions About Surgery

When you meet with a member of the Medical Trans Team, you can discuss your concerns about surgery and the process involved. Please refer to the Transgender Surgery Process chart for details.

Counseling Services

To speak with someone in the Engemann Student Counseling Services, please call Andy Shaw at (213) 740-7711.

USC Affiliated Physicians (available via referrals from Engemann Student Health Center)

If you are referred to a clinician outside UPC, a visit to a USC affiliated clinician is covered at 90% as are tests and prescriptions for care not provided at the UPC Engemann Student Health Center. Students must get a referral through Engemann for the following specialists.

  • Dr. Johanna Olson, Director of the Transgender Youth Program
  • Dr. Marvin Belzer at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
  • Note: Both above mentioned physicians will see individuals up to their 25th birthday. This can involve in-house counseling/mental health referrals once patients are evaluated.

Example of a Possible Referral

  • Dr. Richard Horowitz, Southern California Transgender Counseling, to provide mental health support (Dr. Horowitz does not accept health insurance, clients will need to submit for reimbursement with insurance carriers that accept out-of-network providers).

General Insurance Coverage Information

There are 3 levels of insurance coverage for medical visits.

  1. A USC and Aetna affiliated MD has a $350 deductible and 90% coverage after that
  2. A non USC, but Aetna affiliated MD has $350 deductible and 80% coverage after that
  3. Some clinicians are not Aetna providers or do not accept insurance in which case if the bill is submitted to Aetna there is a $700 deductible and reimburses 50% of reasonable and customary charges

For questions and concerns about your health insurance plan and benefits, you may also schedule a private benefits counseling appointment with Debbie Hansen at (213) 740-2180. Please see these Aetna forms below for more informations.
GRS Student Checklist
GRS Process Checklist

Health Care Regardless of Insurance Coverage

The L.A. LGBT Center offers a Trans Health Program with services on a sliding scale. The Transgender Health Program provides comprehensive primary health care as well as trans-specific services such as pap smears for trans men, prostate exams for trans women, hormone-therapy supervision and post-surgical care for those who have undergone sex-reassignment surgery.

In addition, you can contact the following resources:

Gender Identity and USC’s Non-Discrimination Policy
USC’s non-discrimination policy includes gender identity and expression. As noted, “Gender includes both the actual sex of an employee or applicant for employment and that person’s gender identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance or behavior is traditionally associated with that person’s sex at birth.” Feel free to read the University’s non-discrimination policy.