Obamacare Offers New Protections for LGBTQ Americans

LGBTQ week of actionAs we celebrate LGBTQ Enrollment Week of Action, millions of Americans—including many LGBTQ people—are already covered by health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act. And millions more can get covered before January 31, 2017.

For many in the LGBTQ community, access to health care might not seem like much of a priority. But health is an LGBTQ equality issue. Why? Because the LGBTQ community faces health disparities in areas like obesity, smoking, cancer screening, and HIV. LGBTQ people are disproportionately likely to be uninsured and to face discrimination by health care providers when in need of care.

Health care reform has eliminated many of these barriers. Before the Affordable Care Act, insurers could refuse to cover transgender people or same-sex spouses. Now, every American has guaranteed access to a health insurance plan, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV status, or any other preexisting condition.

The Affordable Care Act protects all LGBTQ people—including non-binary, gender nonconforming, and intersex people—from discrimination in health insurance and health care. Most hospitals or clinics can’t turn away or harass LGBTQ people just for being transgender or in a same-sex relationship. Marketplace plans can’t exclude all transition-related care, which helps ensure that transgender people can access the medically necessary care they need to live a happy and healthy life.

These nondiscrimination protections apply in every state, making coverage and health care better than ever before for LGBTQ people. If you face discrimination from a health insurer or a provider, we urge you to file a complaint with the regional Office for Civil Rights at www.hhs.gov/ocr.

Health reform also makes insurance more affordable for many LGBTQ people: in fact, 72 percent of people can find a plan for less than $75 a month. Make a free appointment with an LGBTQ-friendly expert who can help you understand your options.

We know more can and must be done to improve LGBTQ health, but now is the time to make the Affordable Care Act’s protections a reality for millions of LGBTQ people and families across the country.

With financial help and new nondiscrimination protections, there’s never been a better time to be out, be healthy, and get covered. Visit healthcare.gov today and enroll before the December 15 deadline.

Katie Keith, JD, MPH, is a Steering Committee Member of Out2Enroll, a national initiative to connect LGBTQ people with new coverage options under the Affordable Care Act.

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56 thoughts on “Obamacare Offers New Protections for LGBTQ Americans

    • LBGTQ Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Queer
      LBGTQ Lesbian Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Questioning

      source: thefreedictionary.com take your pick

    • With all do respect the LBGTQ community, I thought that “Queer” was a word that was very offensive to the LBGTQ community. I was taught never to define a gay person as Queer.
      Please explain how this expression has changed from offensive to what is currently spoken?

  1. CLIENTS REPORTING INSURANCE PROVIDERS DROPPING AN HMO WITHOUT NOTICE OR WARNING.
    HOSPITALS FINDING PATIENTS UNINSURED WITHOUT NOTICE.
    PATIENTS EXCLUDED WITHOUT REASON OR PRIOR NOTICE DUE TO OBAMA CARE.

    • on 9. Juli 2012 You have presented interesting and valid points that are thovoht-prougking in my opinion. I’m glad to see a writer care so much about writing good content. I agree with this. Your work is most impressive.

  2. Is there any information on this topic for people on Medicare? I’m disabled, in my 30s, and started Medicare a few months ago and a lot of the doctors either don’t know about many of the tests gay men are supposed to have or say to go to a gay health clinic but most of those clincs aren’t contracted with Medicare.

    • You’re on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) rather than Medicare, right? Would you have Medicaid and SSI, too? If you’re on SSDI in your thirties, you should be able to get care anywhere that Medicaid is accepted. Sometimes you have to do a search or have someone do it for you, but it can be done.

      • I get SSDI but that’s not health insurance. That’s that government’s equivalent of an employer’s long-term disability except SSDI doesn’t pay as much. To be eligible for SSDI instead of SSI you have to have worked long enough and paid enough social security taxes out of your paycheck to qualify, just like you need to have worked long enough to collect retirement social security. Anyone who has been on SSDI for 24 months automatically gets enrolled in Medicare. If you are disabled and didn’t work enough to get SSDI you might qualify for SSI but in order to get SSI your income has to be below 75% of the poverty level and they only pay the difference to bring your income up to 75%. If you get SSI you automatically qualify for Medicaid, not Medicare. Some people can qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid while on SSDI if their SSDI and assets are within Medicaid limits. This is the case for me since I was in my 20s when I became disabled. I had worked enough to get SSDI but since I was in college part of the time and then entry levels jobs for a few years before becoming disabled my average income was pretty low. I’m what they call a “dual-eligible” which is good and bad. The good is that I pay pretty much nothing. Medicaid pays my Medicare premium, deductible, and coinsurance and the federal government caps copays for prescriptions for duals to $3.70 for brand, $1.40 generic. While this sound great, in order for Medicaid to pay your deductible and coinsurance you have to see someone that accepts both Medicaid and Medicare so instead of having the nationwide network, I have less doctors than if I had Medicaid alone. Technically I could go to someone who doesn’t take Medicaid and they legally can’t bill me, but all that does is make you not ever be able to get an appointment. Even the doctors that do take both don’t like you though because Medicaid doesn’t pay the Medicare amount for the coinsurance, they pay what Medicaid would have paid which often is less than the 80% Medicare already paid so the doctor never gets the coinsurance. For the first few months I was paying out of pocket for a medicare supplement plan just so I could still see any doctor without them getting pissed but the care wasn’t all that much better so I cancelled it last month. The good thing about SSDI vs SSI is that I can save or invest and still get paid regardless of income whereas SSI you get kicked off of if you make more than $733/mo and have more than $2000 in assets. I could get kicked off of Medicaid if I make more than 150% of the poverty level though and I’d have to make significantly more than that to offset the loss of the premium, deductible and coinsurance payments and the cap on rx copays. Sorry for the long response. BTW, you’re somewhat right about the Medicaid provider thing, but it depends on the state. Some states, mainly ones that still use fee-for-service for Medicaid, will still let you see any Medicaid provider if you qualify for both. In Massachusetts (where I live) Medicaid is divided into 4 or 5 managed care organizations that aside from that they get paid by the state, they’re essentially separate insurance companies so once you qualify for Medicare you can’t still stay in the managed care organization so the only services you still can get directly through Medicaid are behavioral health and dental. The rest you have to see a Medicare provider and have Medicare pay the 80% before the state will pay anything.

    • Hey – be very grateful you were able to obtain Medicare, Missouri fails (in so many ways) to, actually refuses Medicare to individuals unable to work more over anyone claiming $0.00 earnings DO NOT QUALIFY TO RECIEVE ANY HEALTH COVERAGE (medicare) FURTHERMORE IF YOUR IMPOVERISHED BELOW A CERTIAN THRESHOLD (idk what the amnt. Is) MISSOURI EVEN REFUSES TAX CREDITS TO THAT PERSON.
      Now, MISSOURI is very empathetic and generous/understanding in lieu of the “EXEMPTION” completely impoverished individuals “MAY RECEIVE” by not being forced to pay “PENALTY FEE FOR BEING POOR OR BELOW POVERTY LEVEL”
      I MUST ADD MISSOURI JUDGES (the two i had the unfortunate hearing of) –
      • • MISSOURI JUDGES KNOW MORE THAN THE CERTIFIED PHYSICIANS (MEDICAL DOCTORS.. BOTH PHYSICAL & MENTAL) WHOM I HAVE SEEN FOR YEARS & CONCLUDED AS WELL AS FULLY COOPERATED IN THE “FILLING OUT OF TOTALLY REDUNDANT & RIDICULOUS FORMS” WHOM HAVE NO REASON TO LIE BUT ONLY TRUTH AS THEIR CAREERS AND FREEDOM ARE AT RISK IN DOING SO…

      – needless to say ( but i will ) IM COMPLETELY & TOTALLY BESIDE MYSELF – for a lack of more adequate & descriptive grammar to my feelings tward this so, so obvious corrupt “system” completely “on the take”… AS LITERALLY ANY AMERICAN KNOWS –
      “MONEY TRUMPS PEACE” – GEORGE BUSH JR.

      • I totally agree about the inequities and money. I think you might have Medicare and Medicaid confused though. Medicare eligibility is decided by the federal government and is based solely on being eligible for SSDI regardless of your income. A person is eligible for SSDI based on how many work credits they’ve paid into social security towards retirement whereas SSI only qualifies you for Medicaid and is based on you being below 75% of the poverty level, disabled and not eligible for SSDI. Since Medicaid is run by the states the coverage and income limits vary greatly. The states that didn’t expand Medicaid with Obamacare still may have the old Medicaid rules which were 50% of the poverty level or being eligible for SSI in which case it would be 75% of the poverty level. Also, some states pay SSI recipients an additional amount over what the federal government pays which is usually based on your housing expenses, age and type of disability. For Instance, the base pay by the federal gov’t for SSI this year for a 1 person household where you shared living expenses is $733 (household is defined by tax purposes not how many people live there). If you don’t pay any rent though they subtract one third from that. In Massachusetts you get an additional payment which can be anywhere from $20 if you are single, under 65, don’t pay rent, and disabled but not blind or deaf. If the same person paid rent, not only would they get the third back from the federal gov’t but they would get about $100 from the state and if the person lived alone or paid more than 50% of the rent it would be about $180 from the state. If that person were blind or deaf the amount would be in the 300s or 400s. If the person was over 65 it would be in the 200s. I don’t have a problem with the blind and deaf thing per say since those are very difficult but the age thing bothers me because you can be eligible for SSI once you’re 65 even if you aren’t disabled if you are low income. That 65 year old may feel perfectly fine and have no medical expenses but gets paid more than someone under 65 who has to be disabled and probably has lots of medical expenses. Massachusetts is like that with a lot of things. 85% of subsidized housing is allocated to people over 65 regardless of disability or income. The other 15% is allotted to people under 65 who have to be low income and disabled. So not only is there way less housing for the disabled, but the wait list is also longer because the old people keep dying and leaving vacancies for more old people but the 15% for disabled under 65 could be occupied by the same person for 40-50 years.

        Back to your comment though, the fact that so many people can’t get that if people are able to get healthy to be able to work they can actually start to become self-sufficient and non need assistance is just beyond me. During the recession everyone was saying we have to cut benefits because of the economy. Isn’t that the purpose of benefits–to help people when they actually need it, not when the economy is great and everyone does have a job? The government isn’t a for-profit business, it’s supposed to be the protector when those for-profit businesses screw people over. If we’re able to be trillions of dollars in debt from wars and subsidies to oil companies and corn farmers because we can’t get along with Latin America for real sugar, I think we can spare the couple million that goes towards public assistance.

  3. It’s fine that you claim you are providing affordable health care for all but that is not a correct statement. Health care has become so expensive I know people who are not going to doctors or filling their prescriptions because they cannot afford it. I’m talking about people who are working and trying to make it day to day or retired living on fixed income. It’s wonderful you are providing yet MORE coverage for the LBGTQ but how about affordable coverage for ALL people. This is a sad commentary for your department. Your discrimination is blatant.

    • You are correct. My wife has Obamacare and we were made to pay the premiums but cannot use it because the deductables are so high. She can hardly buy the meds needed and just to see the Dr we have to pay a upfront cost of $75. This was the worst program ever and it all falls back on the Democrats as they are the soleyones that passed this horrible health care act.

      • It could have been a good program if Obama and Congress had been meticulous to details but instead for the sake of getting it passed Democrats compromised and also pushed it through without paying attention to the details. Massachusetts had universal healthcare since 2006 but since there’s a democrat supermajority the state legislature didn’t have to try to push it through before the next election or worry about it getting vetoed so more thought was put into it and once it went into effect and some flaws became apparent, they passed a bunch of new laws in 2008 fixing it. In 2008 I bought an individual Blue Cross PPO plan with a $1000 deductible but not even any copays for office visits for $315/mo. Now a plan that price would have a $5000 deductible and crappy benefits. Since the ACA went into effect Massachusetts insurance has gotten way worse to comply with federal law. What people never gave Hillary credit for was that she is smart and meticulous enough that she would think of all the little details and I think she could have fixed Obamacare, but now we’ll never know.

          • I know, I’m just saying Massachusetts has shown it can work if it is drafted well. I agree this was not drafted well and that Democrats shouldn’t have passed a crappy bill just to get it through before the next election.

    • SS and Medicare is not providing MORE medical care for the LBGTQ community. You are led to believe that because some genius decided that a Obamacare subject needed to be aired on this SSA site. SS has changed definitions for spousal benefits, that’s all.

  4. LGBTQ= Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and either Questioning or Queer often depending on if they consider “Queer” to be derogatory or a more neutral term encompassing people who feel they don’t fit one of those labels or aren’t sure.

  5. I can’t believe the Social Security Administration is not using the correct name. It is called the Affordable Healthcare Act and should be referred to as such.

  6. IM SO FREAKIN… JUST JADED TO THE POINT OF SHAME IN LIEU OF THE BLATANTLY OBVIOUS CORRUPTION OF THIS COUNTRY…
    I WISH I COULD AFFORD TO MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY THAT @ LEAST GIVES THE IMPRESSION IT CARES ABOUT ITS CITIZENS..

  7. IM SO FREAKIN… JUST JADED TO THE POINT OF SHAME IN LIEU OF THE BLATANTLY OBVIOUS CORRUPTION OF THIS COUNTRY…
    I WISH I COULD AFFORD TO MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY THAT @ LEAST GIVES THE IMPRESSION IT CARES ABOUT ITS CITIZENS.. •

  8. I think this deal about making anyone a beneficiary of SSI,or SSDI, or any program that originated from the original SS, system, should be, and hopefully, will be repealed, back to its status, pre- Obama. Hopefully, between,Pres. Trump, and the majority leader of the house, to rectify the robbing of SS, That system was the only system that survived congress for over 20 years. Congress could not legally take the money, so they crafted a loan, without any terms, which in ever ones eyes is still stealing. When the put that money back with the interest that was lost, Social Security will be solvent, well in to the next millinum.

      • Social Security taxes collected from today’s workers pay the benefits of today’s retirees. Any funds in excess of what is needed to pay today’s benefits are invested in special issue, U.S. Government, interest-bearing securities. This investment – the purchase of U.S. Government securities – is what constitutes the “borrowing” that people are sometimes concerned about. Any funds that have been “borrowed” from the Social Security Trust Funds have always been paid back in full, plus interest. Please check out our Trust Fund Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

    • SSDI and SSI have nothing to do with Obama or Obamacre. SSDI has been a part of Social Security since 1957 when Republican President Eisenhower was in office 59 years ago, not 20 years ago. And it’s not coming from your tax dollars; it’s from and based on the amount that was taken out of that person’s paycheck that’s held in a trust until that person retires or if that person becomes disabled. It’s not an entitlement program, it’s an insurance policy that the beneficiary has been paying a premium for out of every single paycheck he or she has ever gotten.

      SSI which is an entitlement program was signed into law by Republican President Nixon in 1972. Even though the Social Security Administration runs SSI, the money does not come from the Social Security Trust. That money for low income disabled people does come from your taxes. While you may not like it, it has nothing to do with the solvency of Social Security. Things that do affect its solvency are recessions caused by deregulation that cause the stock market to crash making the trust’s investments worthless while at the same time no money being paid into the trust since nobody is working.

      • Thank you Daniel S. atleast someone on this thread knows what they are talking about. People love to get up here talking what they do not know and placing blame where it doesn’t belong. Go get the info from SSA and stop speculating.

        • Thanks, but why would anyone bother to actually type into Google while they are already online and ask ” When did Social Security start and how is it funded?” when they could follow a link on facebook to a fake news site? It’s really scary how few people were taught in school the difference between a reputable source and a non-reputable source.

  9. I am ,white ,strait,american, 56 years,old disabled after 35 tears of wmaoff. I think the only thing I have in common with this bunch is my disability. I pay taxes on my on ssdi and help my WIFE as much as I can,
    Via condios amigo

  10. What happens when you notify the FTC about I dentity Theft I receive no relief. Direct Bank deposits rerouted to closed accounts and Medicaid Records and Prescription drug records altered. This from a Recovering Cancer Patient. This is not a local law enforcement issue. It crosses multiple state jurisdictions. I believe that the FTC claim number was fraudulent.
    Please Advise : or offer an appointment at Headquarters. I had written to Kathleen S
    and she did thank me for my support of the ACA.

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