I’m Covered Stories: A Healthy Respect for a ‘Complicated’ Family

Posted June 23, 2014
By Judy Sarasohn, Public Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services

Daryn DeZengotita, a self-employed social media strategist, was grateful that Celia Barshop’s employer, a small nonprofit in Dallas, offered health insurance to domestic partners, but it came at a high cost to the two women.

Besides the expensive premium, it gnawed on Daryn that the benefit was taxed because under Texas law– even though Daryn and Celia have been together for 16 years and had adopted two brothers out of foster care – same-sex marriages are not legal. Health insurance benefits for legally married couples are not taxed.

Being able to get affordable, quality coverage through the Marketplace is a matter of respect.When the Health Insurance Marketplace opened for enrollment last year, she leapt at it. “I’m 48. I’m no longer a young invincible. But health insurance was always something out of reach for me,” she told me recently. 

Daryn says her family with Celia is a “complicated” one. But those complications did not interfere with enrollment in an affordable, quality Marketplace plan.

She said the questions asked during the enrollment process were not intrusive and dealt with their issues. “It got a clear picture of my family. We’re a complicated family.” 

And of profound significance to members of the LGBT community, Daryn said, “Our relationship is respected along with that of anyone else.”

With assistance provided by the Marketplace, Daryn was able to get a plan for herself that will save them a couple of hundred dollars a month. For now, their teenage sons are on Celia’s employer-sponsored plan, although when open enrollment begins again in November, they will see if the boys can get less expensive coverage.

The Affordable Care Act makes it easier for all Americans, including LGBT individuals, to access health coverage through the Marketplace and Medicaid.

What’s more, insurers cannot deny coverage or charge more because of a pre-existing condition, such as breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes, or because you’re lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender. Legally married same-sex couples are treated equally.

And under the Affordable Care Act, there is no out-of-pocket charge for preventive services, like mammograms, screening for HIV, and blood pressure checks.  

Additionally, people with special circumstances, such as a recent marriage or the birth or adoption of a child, may be able to enroll now in advance of November’s open enrollment. If you or your children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP, you can enroll at any time.

For Daryn, being able to get affordable, quality coverage through the Marketplace is a matter of respect, security, and peace of mind for all families and individuals – no matter how complicated their lives.  

Content last reviewed on June 23, 2014