Gender-Affirming Surgery

Gender-Affirming Surgery 

Your Guide to Using University of Arizona United Healthcare Student Resources.

Last Updated/Reviewed: 10/2023

Where To Start

From finding a surgeon, to navigating insurance, getting gender-affirming surgery can feel overwhelming. So, we've put together some information that can be helpful for students using the United Healthcare Student Resources plan!

Process Overview 

Explore each step of the gender-affirming surgery process and additional resources to help you along the way. If you don't know where to start or need support in this process, schedule a free Resource & Referral appointment with a CAPS Care Coordinator at 520-621-3334.

Here are the steps that you'll go through, starting with finding a surgeon. 

Step 5 

Get Scheduled For Surgery 

Step 6 

Care-Planning With Your Medical Team

Step 7 



In-Network Surgeons with United (In Arizona)

Dr. Steven Turkeltaub (Scottsdale)
Top Surgeon
(480) 451-3000

Craft MD (Phoenix)
Top Surgeon
(602) 584-8883

Out-Of-Network Surgeons With United (In Arizona)

Ethan E. Larson, MD
Top Surgeon
7005 N Oracle Rd., Tucson, AZ 85704
(520) 447-0156


Valladolid Plastic Surgery
Top, bottom surgery and FFS
Scottsdale, Mesa and Phoenix
(480) 770-5015


The Meltzer Clinic
All surgeries
(480) 657-7006


Dr. Raad M. Taki, MD
Top Surgeon
4580 E Camp Lowell Dr., Tucson, AZ 85712
(520) 881-3232


Gwen Maxwell, MD, FACS
Breast augmentation only
2490 E. River Road, Ste 100, Tucson, AZ 85718
(520) 751-1225

Dana Balderamma, MD
Top Surgeon
1945 Mesquite Ave, Ste D, Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403
(928) 453-9487

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Letter(s) of Support

According to United, letter(s) of support for surgery must be written by a licensed therapist. Currently, you need one letter for top surgery and two for bottom surgery.

If you have a therapist, they can review the WPATH standards of care.

If you do not have a therapist or need an additional letter, you can receive one from the LGBTQ+ Resource Center counselor (at no-cost) or a CAPS provider. Financial assistance is available for all CAPS services. CAPS Care Coordinators can also help you find an affirming therapist off-campus.

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Surgery Referrals

Once you have found a surgeon, call CAPS at (520) 621-3334 and ask for a Care Coordinator. Care Coordinators are able to generate referrals for plastic surgery in the United system. This way your surgeon's office can bill your insurance.

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Surgery Consultations

A consultation is an opportunity to ask all of your questions and get to know your surgeon. Again, ask lots of questions! This is when you can ask to see results photos of surgeries they have done before and collaborate about your desired outcomes.

Campus Health Building

Coverage (in-network)

You are responsible for paying 20% of the total cost of services (AKA your "coinsurance") when:

  • You have a referral for surgery in the United system
  • You are seeing an in-network provider
  • You have met the $250 deductible

The total cost includes surgery, hospital bills, anesthesia, etc. The maximum amount out-of-pocket amount is $1500. If you reach this amount in a policy year, the rest of your covered services are paid by insurance.

Please note, this does not guarantee payment. These are rough estimates and things change! If you are curious about the cost of your surgery and services, contact the administrative staff at your surgeon's office about their rates with United. Ask questions!

If you have specific questions about the UHC SR policy, contact the Campus Health Student Insurance Office at (520) 621-5002 or email

View the full UHC Medical Policy

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Coverage (Out-of-Network) 

If you want to see a surgeon that is not in-network with United, there are still ways to bill insurance!

If there are no in-network providers that perform your surgery in Arizona, you can ask the surgeon to file a “single-case agreement” for in-network rates. Make sure to mention this to your surgeon/their office so that they can work directly with United Healthcare Student Resources.

If there are in-network surgeons available for your procedure but you prefer to see an out-of-network surgeon, a single-case agreement is not an option. Therefore your services are processed as out-of-network and will be billed accordingly.

In this scenario, be prepared to pay out of pocket for everything initially. Once you receive an itemized statement with codes for services, you can submit a claim to UHC SR for partial reimbursement. Ultimately, this is a more expensive option.

The coinsurance for out-of-network providers is 50% (of what United typically covers). You'll have to meet a $1000 deductible and $3000 out-of-pocket maximum.

If you have questions, feel free to call a CAPS Care Coordinator (520) 621-3334 or the Student Insurance Office for help!

Insurance Glossary 

Insurance has its own language! Here is a glossary with commonly used terms provided by Campus Health:

  • Insured - Person/persons covered by the health plan.
  • Insurer - The company that manages your plan benefit.
  • Benefits - Medical services/supplies you can receive by paying your premium.
  • Premium - Amount paid to health insurance plans to remain active. Higher premiums usually mean lower deductible.
  • Deductible - The amount you pay for covered health care services before your health plan begins to pay.
  • Out-Of-Pocket Maximum - The most you will pay for covered benefits in the plan year. If you reach the maximum, your health insurer pays 100% of any covered services for the rest of the year plan.
  • Coinsurance - A set percentage you pay on the total cost of covered services after you meet your deductible.
  • Copayment - A fixed amount you pay each time for health services. Amount may fluctuate depending on services.
  • Referral - In some cases you may need a referral to visit a certain specialist. Without one, your health insurer may not cover the total cost.
  • In-Network - Health services your health insurance has contracted with to deliver healthcare services to their members.
  • Out-Of-Network - Health services your health insurance has NOT contracted with. This means you will pay more.