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How the Affordable Care Act Helps the LGBT Community

SOURCE: AP/Jacquelyn Martin

President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act in the White House in Washington earlier this month.

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Reforming America’s health insurance system is a massive, multiyear process initiated by the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. The scale of the changes introduced by the law is unprecedented and will touch the lives of all Americans, including those who have frequently been excluded from health insurance coverage that helps make care affordable when it is needed most. For the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, community in particular, these changes have the potential to dramatically improve access to coverage and care.

Health care reform has many moving parts, and picking out what is important to LGBT individuals and families is not a simple task. These consumer-friendly fact sheets break down key pieces of the Affordable Care Act, explaining several of the major program and policy changes being made under health care reform and what they mean for the LGBT community. Topics addressed include:

  • Insurance reforms: Guaranteed availability of coverage, fairness standards for health insurance premiums, and guaranteed coverage for Essential Health Benefits are all sweeping changes to health insurance that will help keep costs down for LGBT people and their families. “The Affordable Care Act: Helping You Keep Your Costs Down” explains how these policy changes will help open up access to affordable, comprehensive coverage for LGBT people.
  • Medicaid: Though Medicaid has existed in every state since 1982, restrictive eligibility requirements have kept many low-income individuals, including those who are LGBT, from receiving coverage through the program. Health reform expands Medicaid eligibility and makes several other significant changes to Medicaid that will help many more LGBT people and their families get coverage. “The Affordable Care Act: Expanding Medicaid Access” explains the basics of Medicaid and how health reform changes the program to make it more accessible for the LGBT community.
  • Marketplaces: The centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act is the new Health Insurance Marketplaces. Starting in 2014 every state will have an online Marketplace where people can compare insurance plans and buy affordable coverage that meets their needs. “The Affordable Care Act: Creating New Health Insurance Marketplaces” explains what the Marketplaces are, how the federal government is setting standards for Marketplaces, and the range of policies states can implement to ensure that Marketplaces adequately serve LGBT people and their families.

Download the fact sheets here:

Andrew Cray is a Policy Analyst with the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress. Kellan Baker is the Associate Director of the project.

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