By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com March 08 2013 5:12 PM ET
After Donnie Collins's fraternity brothers at Emerson College in Boston launched a fundraiser to help the transgender student raise money for transition-related surgery, the insurance company reversed its decision and decided to cover a double mastectomy for the 19-year-old.
Brothers in Collins's professional arts fraternity, who raised more than $20,000 to help fund Collins's surgery, will donate the excess to a nonprofit that provides gender-affirming surgeries for transgender people who cannot afford them.
Officials at Emerson told ABC News that the university contacted Aetna insurance to clarify that transition-related procedures are generally covered by the school's insurance plan.
"After the rejection of his initial request, the college contacted Aetna for clarification — knowing that transgender benefits have been part of its insurance policy with Aetna since 2006," the college said in a statement.
The initial rejection evidently stemmed from a discrepancy between Emerson's inclusive insurance plan and the written policy.
"All documentation has been quickly revised, and this week Donnie has confirmed with his surgeon’s office that insurance will cover the procedure," members of Phi Alpha Tau wrote on the IndieGogo page Wednesday. "This is very surprising news, and means that he only needs to pay copay instead of the full $8125. As promised, all excess funds have been pledged to the Jim Collins Foundation."
Collins says his copay and aftercare costs amount to approximately $2,000, meaning that more than $18,000 will be donated to the Jim Collins Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to helping transgender people attain gender-affirming surgeries.
Collins posted the video below on his YouTube channel, explaining the pleasantly surprising news. Jump to the 4:52 marker for an in-depth explanation.