As the US Supreme Court prepares to overturn Roe v. Wade’s protections for abortion access, some court watchers are warning that protecting LGBT rights may be next.
According to a recently published survey of 520 Americans who identify as LGBTQ+, many are already facing discrimination in healthcare.
The surveyconducted by health insurance website HealthCare.com, included 520 respondents, 40% of whom were bisexual, 30% were gay, 12% were gay, and 18% were something else, such as transgender, pansexual, interrogation, or queer.
One in eight LGBTI Americans surveyed said they experienced discrimination from their health insurance provider. Among subgroups, such as people identifying as transgender or bisexual, it may be higher, although the sample sizes for these subgroups were not sufficient to draw definitive conclusions.
Young people were more likely to report experiencing discrimination. One in five Millennials (22%) and Generation Z (20%) respondents said they experienced discrimination from health insurance providers. By contrast, only 3% of baby boomers and 11% of Generation X respondents reported insurance discrimination.
These results are consistent with the evidence that LGBTQ+ patients face discrimination from healthcare providers also. According to a report from Center for American ProgressOne in ten LGBT Americans is abused by a health care provider.
The upbeat news is that 32% of respondents to a HealthCare.com survey think health insurance is getting better for LGBT Americans, while a smaller percentage (13%) think health insurance is getting worse.
Health insurance status and costs
Survey respondents reported having a range of health insurance coverage. A third was covered by Medicare, 23% by an employer, 18% by Medicaid, and 10% by the state or federal health insurance market.
Only 7% of respondents have no health insurance – slightly less than the general population although it falls within the survey’s margin of error – despite government data showed that in general, LGBTQ+ Americans are slightly more likely to be uninsured than non-LGBTQ+ people. Coverage disparities are more pronounced for some LGBT groups. Specifically, transgender people are more likely to be uninsured and report cost barriers to care, according to Kaiser Family Foundation.
Without health insurance, finding affordable health care services can become a major barrier, according to Dr. Maria C. Munje, assistant professor of pediatrics, internal medicine and medical education and director of the department of adolescent medicine at the University of Texas Dell Medical School at Austin.
“It’s just the cost of the premiums—and that’s not even the deductible—makes that, for some people, [health insurance is] Mong said. “Even if you’re in a country that has options, people can’t stand that.”
A HealthCare.com survey shows that even people who have health insurance aren’t sure they have coverage for what they need.
The majority (60%) of respondents said they were unsure if their health insurance covered services often requested by LGBTQ+ patients, such as sex-confirming medications, sex-confirmation procedures, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention, or HIV therapies. fertility. Another 20% said their health insurance covered none of these services, and 10% said their health insurance covered sex-confirming hormones and PrEP.
Without insurance coverage, the care people need can be prohibitive. For example, of survey respondents who said they do not take PrEP, 20% said it is expensive and not covered by insurance.
Despite the challenges, LGBTQ+ respondents are better off than the general public when it comes to certain aspects of health insurance and personal finance related to healthcare.
For example, nearly a quarter of respondents (24%) said they had $6,000 in savings compared to just 14% of the general population.
Respondents who identified as gay were less likely to have medical debt, with 75% reporting not having any debt. On the other hand, younger participants were more likely to be in debt, with 56% of millennials owing money for medical bills.
Overall, for one in three respondents with medical debt, the amount is over $1,000.
More than half (53%) of respondents were somewhat worried or very worried that a major health problem could lead to medical debt or even bankruptcy. Among millennials, that number was 63%.
Reducing LGBTQ+ discrimination and barriers to care should be a concern for everyone, according to Mong, not just LGBTI people.
“Human health is as good as the health of his community,” she said. “We should care about the health of our communities and not just our own, because we can only be healthy if everyone is.”