By: Andrew Shaughnessy
Gaining access to affordable health insurance has never been easier. Thanks to Healthcare.gov, LGBT folks are able to research and choose a marketplace plan that fits their individual or family needs and purchase the plan – all free from discrimination. This is an amazing step forward for the LGBT community, and a life-saving one for LGBT living in states that allow discrimination to exist.
The failure of certain legislature’s to include basic protections for the LGBT community continues to be a barrier for LGBT folks seeking access to health care. Leading to several negative health outcomes, including being twice as likely as a population to forgo care as our heterosexual peers as shown in the Missouri Foundation for Health, 2012 Health Equity series: Responding to LGBT Health Disparities.
The insurance marketplace has been set up to include nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This means that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender folks can peruse marketplace plans and be their authentic self, free from the fear of discrimination. During the 2014 enrollment period, my organization, PROMO launched its LGBT Welcoming Spaces program for navigators and CACs, who help community members, navigate the healthcare marketplace. The program focuses on education for navigators and CACs on LGBT health and ways to help them visibly make their organizations LGBT welcoming. These LGBT Welcoming spaces can be identified by searching for the ‘Welcoming Spaces’ image.
Seeing this symbol indicates that their organization has completed the necessary requirements to be LGBT Welcoming. Make sure to take advantage of open enrollment on Healthcare.gov , open enrollment for 2015 coverage ends Feb. 15th.