Thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), LGBTQ people have more protections from health care discrimination than ever before. Prior to the ACA, LGBTQ families had no federal recourse when they faced discrimination.
Better, not perfect
A 2010 study found that more than half of LGBTQ people reported experiencing serious discrimination from health care providers.
Today, the ACA prohibits federally funded hospitals, insurers and providers from discriminating against LGBTQ patients. But LGBTQ people still face prejudice and discrimination, and with the future of the ACA under threat, it’s more important than ever to know how to find LGBTQ-affirming health care.
What you need to know
There are organizations that advocate for LGBTQ patients, maintaining a free, nationwide provider directory of doctors, specialists and therapists who have affirmed their commitment to treating LGBTQ people with dignity, equality and professionalism.
For one, Out2Enroll, a national initiative to help LGBTQ people access inclusive insurance coverage, works with local assisters across the country to provide free guidance in finding LGBT-affirming insurance coverage. Many local organizations also maintain directories of LGBTQ-friendly health care providers.
Regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services have clarified that the ACA’s prohibition on sex discrimination also prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ people, consistent with federal courts across the country. That means that the ACA prohibits federally funded hospitals and doctors from turning away LGBTQ patients and treating them unequally.
It also bans common forms of anti-LGBTQ discrimination by insurers, including refusing to cover LGBTQ people or denying transgender people coverage for transition-related care or sex-specific services like mammograms. These rights are now under threat, both from efforts to repeal the law and from an ongoing lawsuit seeking to block these regulations.
Still, these rights are ours by law. If you face health care discrimination, we encourage you to speak to an attorney. You deserve to receive care without bias or discrimination.
Laura Durso, Vice President, LGBT Research and Communications Project, Center for American Progress, [email protected]