Obamacare and Its Benefits for LGBT Families

The Affordable Care Act promises to help same-sex couples, single LGBT folks, and their children in a variety of ways.

BY Alex Davidson

October 07 2013 7:01 PM ET

Curious about how the new Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will affect your family?

The White House has a handy primer about how the new era of health care coverage in the United States will benefit the more than 11,000 same-sex couples who are raising an estimated 170,000 biological, step, or adopted children. And it’s clear that LGBT people need the help: According to the White House, LGBT Americans are disproportionately uninsured.

Here’s how it will work:

Expanded Coverage
- LGBT families living below the poverty line will benefit from the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid to now cover Americans with income at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, which for a family of four now stands at a household income of $23,550.
- Parents with preexisting health conditions who previously could not get approved for coverage will now have access to insurance through Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans.

Patient Protections
- Children under age 19 with preexisting conditions will now be able to get benefits. As of 2014, it will be illegal to discriminate against anyone with a preexisting condition.
- Insurance companies will not be able to turn someone away because he or she is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
- There will no longer be lifetime dollar limits on benefits.
- You can now search a federal government website to see which insurers offer domestic-partner benefits.

HIV/AIDS:
- Currently, fewer than one in five (17%) people living with HIV have private insurance and nearly 30% do not have any coverage. The ACA will provide plans to accommodate those with HIV or AIDS via the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans.

Other groups and think tanks have observed how the ACA will affect LGBT families. The Center for American Progress last year put together a handy quiz to highlight how the ACA will benefit LGBT folks and their children. The center also put together a Top 10 list that outlines the ACA’s applicability to LGBT people and their families.

There is also the Out2Enroll initiative, a joint effort by the Sellers Dorsey Foundation, Center for American Progress, and Federal Agencies Project to educate LGBT Americans on the Affordable Care Act. The group is aiming to enroll a large portion of LGBT folks and their families because members of the LGBT community are more likely to lack health insurance.

“We know that you’ll have questions so you’ll be hearing a lot more from Out2Enroll beginning on National Coming Out Day, October 11,” says a statement issued by the group.

The group’s motto: Be Out. Be Healthy. Get Covered.

To find out more about the ACA or how to use any of the tools discussed above, visit the government's health care reform website at HealthCare.gov.

 

Contact reporter ALEX DAVIDSON on Twitter at Twitter.com/adwildcat.

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