Michaela Jae Rodriguez
Subscribe To
The Advocate
Scroll To Top

Every LGBTQ+ Person Needs Health Insurance

Doc

Millions of Americans — including many LGBTQ people — have already enrolled in affordable, quality health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. In fact, the uninsured rate among low- and middle-income LGBTQ people was cut in half, dropping from 34 percent in 2013 to 16 percent in 2020.

Despite these historic gains, LGBTQ people are still more likely to be uninsured than non-LGBTQ people. Nearly one in five LGBTQ adults in the United States (22 percent) live in poverty, compared to 16 percent among straight and cisgender counterparts, and an analysis of health-related surveys issued by the Human Rights Campaign found that one in five LGBTQ adults have not seen a doctor when needed because they could not afford it.

Many may be uninsured now since LGBTQ people have been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially given that an estimated 40% of employed LGBTQ adults work in restaurants and food service, K-12 and higher education, or hospitals and retail — industries hit hard by the pandemic.

Throughout Pride month — as we reflect on the importance of securing equal rights and protections for LGBTQ people — we must also acknowledge the crucial role healthcare plays in our community's well-being. With LGBTQ people more likely to be uninsured, we need not only a broader conversation amongst the community about the importance of getting covered, but also more education and resources to demystify the process and emphasize how easy it is now to enroll in free or low-cost health insurance.

HealthCare.gov is open, and anyone who needs health insurance or wants to switch plans can do so now through August 15. And millions of LGBTQ people qualify for financial help to do so. Four out of five people can find health insurance for $10 per month through HealthCare.gov — millions more can enroll in coverage for free. If you shopped for health insurance before — or assumed it was too costly — now is the time to look again.

Health insurance is more affordable than ever thanks to the American Rescue Plan, a new law that expands the Affordable Care Act for the first time ever by extending financial help to 15 million uninsured people and 9 million people who already have coverage.

Additionally, on HealthCare.gov, every American is guaranteed access to coverage, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV status, or any other preexisting condition. 

The Affordable Care Act also protects all LGBTQ people — including transgender, nonbinary, gender queer, and intersex people — from discrimination in health insurance and health care. LGBTQ people cannot be turned away from or harassed at hospitals or clinics just for being transgender or in a same-sex relationship. And health insurers cannot discriminate based on gender identity, which helps ensure that transgender people can access the medically necessary care they need to live a happy and healthy life.

While the Trump administration tried to undermine these protections, the Biden administration has made clear that LGBTQ people should not face discrimination. If you are mistreated by a health insurer or a provider, we urge you to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights at www.hhs.gov/ocr.

More can and must be done to improve LGBTQ health, but there has never been a better time for our community to get the health insurance we need and deserve. Visit HealthCare.gov today and give yourself the gift of affordable health insurance this Pride season.

Alphonso David is president of the Human Rights Campaign and Katie Keith is the founder of Out2Enroll.

From our Sponsors

READER COMMENTS ()