This blog post was written by Kate Burch, Network Director, California LGBT HHS Network
One of the projects that Health Access supports is the California Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health and Human Services Network, a coalition of organizations throughout the state working towards improving wellness in LGBT communities.
We are excited that open enrollment started on Saturday! The Affordable Care Act has cut the number of uninsured people in half in California, and that’s especially important for LGBT communities. LGBT people have a long history of being discriminated against, denied access to insurance, and refused medical care. We are more likely to be uninsured, and fear of discrimination makes us less likely to go to the doctor when we need to.
But the Affordable Care Act is changing all of that. The Affordable Care Act and Covered California are amazing tools for equality. Our families can get affordable health insurance right now. We can’t be discriminated against any more. We can’t be denied care or charged more just because of who we are.
The first step toward equality in health is getting covered. We are leading a statewide effort to get LGBT people enrolled, working with more than 12 LGBT organizations throughout the state to make sure that LGBT people can get their health insurance questions answered. Our #LGBTcovered website (http://www.californialgbthealth.org/lgbtcovered.html) lists office hours for organizations around the state that can answer LGBT-specific enrollment questions, and we will be holding enrollment events throughout the open enrollment period (November 15, 2014-February 15, 2015). We are also working with Out2Enroll (http://out2enroll.org/) to promote the national effort to increase the number of LGBT individuals and families with health insurance.
Websites, social media, and enrollment events are a great way to get the word out about open enrollment. We know, however, that the best way to improve health in all of our communities is one-on-one. So between November 15th and February 15th we urge all of you to talk to everyone you know to make sure they’re covered.