Uncategorized

Ending Exclusions Under Obamacare

Andrew Shaughnessy, Manager of Public Policy for PROMO

By: Andrew Shaughnessy
@andrewshag

For the LGBT community health is a complicated matter. It is further complicated when health insurance companies deny or exclude certain forms of coverage that for some are basic health needs. For LGBT folks seeking gender-affirming health care coverage barriers exist at every turn — until the Affordable Care Act. Or so we thought…

Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act prohibits discrimination on the ground of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability under “any health program or activity, any part of which is receiving Federal financial assistance … or under any program or activity that is administered by an Executive agency or any entity established under [Title I of ACA]….” To ensure equal access to health care, Section 1557 also applies civil rights protections to the newly created Health Insurance Marketplaces established under the Affordable Care Act.

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Upon researching a complaint raised to us by a Missourian, who qualified and enrolled in a federal marketplace plan, we concluded that exclusions still exist under ACA plans that inhibit transgender patients from getting the basic care they need. Under certain Federal marketplace health insurance plans exclusions have been put in place that state “sex change services and supplies for a sex change and/or reversal of a sex change.”

A real life example of how this affects transgender patients was raised to me, “I had a large cyst on my ovary that had to be removed a several years ago. I hadn’t started transitioning, so my insurance company didn’t blink when I claimed the surgery to remove it. Fast forward to now. If I had the same problem and walked into the doctor’s office with a beard and “male” on my documents, the insurance company can (and would absolutely) deny my claim.”

The State of Missouri’s, along with several states’ ACA exchange, is administered by the federal government and is governed by this rule, however this exclusion is a clear violation of Section 1557. Transgender patients who rely on marketplace coverage for health insurance are forced to censor their own health management for fear that marketplace plans will deem any healthcare on a transgender body excluded from the plan.

I along with the support of hundreds of Missourians requested that the Department of Health and Human Services investigate these claims and make efforts to remedy any claims of sex discrimination in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act.

If you are or know someone who is affected, please consider making a request to the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate these claims.

White House

Vice President shout-out to LGBT community for ACA enrollment awesomeness


HealthEquity Logo

The Network for LGBT Health Equity
Keepin’ you in the loop! 
Passing on the good news! 

 

 

 

With the end of open enrollment only a few days away, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius hosted a call yesterday thanking LGBT community centers, health centers, and organizations for their work in getting LGBT communities enrolled in the health insurance marketplace. Both spoke about the parallels between equal rights for LGBT people and equal access to healthcare, and about the significance and importance of the Affordable Care Act.

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Sebelius started off the call by reviewing the health disparities in LGBT Communities, including the higher rates of cancer and tobacco use. Biden described the initial website issues as a “tough start”, but went on to credit Sebelius with the fact that “things are now moving!” He gave a few shout-outs to Out2Enroll and the Lesbian Health Initiative, among others, and emphasized two really important points: 1. Legally married same-sex couples can now get healthcare coverage, even if same-sex marriage is not recognized in their home state. 2. NOTHING about enrolling can affect immigration status AT ALL.

Biden described access to health insurance as being about responsibility, peace of mind and security, and choice, opportunity and freedom- Taking responsibility for yourself and your health, having peace of mind (and he said that for the young folks who aren’t worried about their health, do it for peace of mind of your mothers and fathers!), and the choice, opportunity and freedom to not be stuck in dead-end jobs because of insurance, and to not have to worry that if you move to another state you will lose your insurance.

Biden closed the call by saying that the ACA is one of the “seminal changes in American policy” and encouraging a huge push of the last few days of open enrollment- either online, over the phone or in-person!

– enroll on-line at healthcare.gov

-enroll over the phone at 1-800-318-2596 (open 24 hours!)

– enroll in person by going to local help.healthcare.gov and finding a navigator at your local community center, health center or library!

 

“Healthcare is a RIGHT. The debate is over.” – Joe Biden

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“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it really is a new day”. – Kathleen Sebelius

LGBT Policy · Resources · social media · Uncategorized

Out2Enroll: Getting LGBT communities connected to care!

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Network for LGBT Health Equity
Out2Enroll LGBT Communities 
 #GetCovered 
 
 
 

The Network for LGBT Health Equity, along with CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers would like to announce the roll-out of our #GetCovered ad campaign, highlighting the experiences of uninsured and underinsured LGBT folks and the barriers they faced accessing healthcare prior to the Affordable Care Act. We hope that it both educates and motivates people to visit Out2Enroll to sign up before the open enrollment window closes on March 31st, 2014!

Out2Enroll is a collaboration by the Sellers Dorsey Foundation, the Center for American Progress, and the Federal Agencies Project to educate LGBTQI communities about their options under the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”).

A study by the Center for American Progress discovered that a whopping 71% of uninsured LGBT people don’t know their options under the new healthcare act. LGBTQ people are less likely to be insured, and less likely to seek or be able to access preventative care. While the Affordable Care Act is in the beginning stages, this is the perfect opportunity to spread the word in our communities about the significantly expanded options available now, including:

– LGBT people and their families have equal access to coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplaces in every state.

– Plans will cover a range of essential benefits such as doctor visits, hospitalizations, reproductive health, emergency-room care, and prescriptions.

– No one can be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

– Financial help is available to pay for a health insurance plan, based on household size and income.

– There is family coverage that is inclusive of same-sex partners

Want more information? Check out this report or head right to Out2Enroll.org!

*And remember! In order to get health insurance coverage by January 1st 2014, you must enroll by December 15th 2013!

Check out the powerful images below, and feel free to download and share (Click to enlarge). This campaign will have a series of phases, with more photographs being posted to our blog and social media channels- so stay tuned!

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O2E.1.DeNierO2E.1.DianeO2E.1.TexO2E.1.Ziggy

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O2E.1.Michael

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We want to send out a huge thank you to the folks who shared their stories with us! Also a big thanks to the organizations that we have co-branded with- Center for Black Equity, Trevor Project, and GetEqual.

Would your organization like to co-brand with us on any of the above ads? Send us an email at lgbthealthequity@gmail.com!

Puerto Rico

With health insurance domestic partners in the Capital

Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan, will be the first  to have a health insurance that will include domestic partners.

The directive, issued on January 17 and announced Sunday by Cruz Soto states that the health plan that is negotiated by the Municipality of San Juan should consider as beneficiary the partner of any employee under a domestic union, and dependents that may arise as a result of that relationship. Two newly hired employees in the Municipality of San Juan will be the first to benefit from the executive order issued by Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz Soto aimed to include domestic partners in the health coverage offered to employees of the Capital .

The administration of the municipality and the health insurer Triple S, held a meeting-orientation  attended by both couples, one heterosexual and one homosexual, with success.

Yulin, who took office in the town this month, had many questions in the wake of this ordinance, to which she answered “I’m not here as mayor to judge, but to help”

We commend the mayor for this great step to social justice and equal rights!

On another note: Carmen Yulin also announced that November 13 will be declared as the “Day for awareness against hate crimes.” She explained that she chose that date because it coincides with the murder, in 2009, of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado. A 19 years old teen who died decapitated, dismembered, and burned. The police investigator suggested that he deserved what he got because of the “type of lifestyle” he was leading.

Read the full article here