Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, people now have more legal protections when seeking health insurance coverage, including the right to be free from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Given evidence that LGBT people are at greater risk for health conditions such as heart disease and cancer, more likely to be poor, and less likely to have health insurance than their non-LGBT counterparts, these new protections will be crucial in helping LGBT communities gain access to affordable coverage and quality care.
The Center for American Progress recently released findings from a national survey of LGBT people whose incomes fall at or below 400 percent of the federal poverty line. This group is eligible for new benefits under the law, such as tax credits and Medicaid coverage. Our data indicate that large numbers of LGBT people, like their non-LGBT counterparts, are not aware of the new, affordable options available to them through the Affordable Care Act. In addition, survey respondents reported significant difficulties obtaining health insurance and expressed deep skepticism that they will be able to find affordable insurance coverage that will meet their needs.
Closing the awareness gap and engaging LGBT people in the insurance enrollment process will require significant outreach efforts using evidence-based tools and strategies. Moreover, these efforts must reflect the fact that the LGBT population is diverse—subgroups within LGBT communities may value different information about the new health insurance options and seek help from different resources. To this end, the following snapshots present tailored facts, motivators, and trusted messengers to inform enrollment outreach with different groups of LGBT people.
Additional snapshots are coming soon. This research was supported in part by the Sellers Dorsey Foundation.