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Access to Healthcare: Affordable Care Act

Affordable Care Act is greatly improving access to health coverage for LGBT Americans.

Studies have shown that health disparities related to sexual orientation and gender identity are due in part to lower rates of health coverage. The Affordable Care Act will give all Americans, including LGBT Americans, improved access to health coverage through an expanded, stronger Medicaid program and new Affordable Insurance Exchanges, marketplaces for quality, affordable health insurance. Moreover, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny individuals coverage or charge them more based on pre-existing conditions – meaning that all Americans will have the security of knowing that they can access affordable, quality health coverage even if they lose their jobs, switch jobs, move, or become sick.

Other notable parts in the Affordable Care Act that will benefit LGBT Americans – like all Americans – are the provisions that permit individuals to remain on their parents’ health plans until age 26 and enhance the availability of preventive services for women in new health plans and seniors on Medicare.

As the Affordable Care Act is implemented, HHS has taken significant steps to help improve the health and well-being of LGBT Americans. Here’s how:

  • Ensuring equal access to coverage.
  • Promoting wellness by generally requiring insurers to cover preventive care at no additional cost.
  • Preventing discrimination based on pre-existing health conditions.
  • Eliminating lifetime limits on coverage for individuals with chronic diseases.
  • Treating all families equally in gaining access to coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find FAQs about how ACA pertains to LGBT families with links to the specific start location in the above embedded video that provides their answers.

  1. What does the Affordable Care Act mean for LGBT families?

  2. How does the Affordable Care Act protect the rights of LGBT people?

  3. What does the Affordable Care Act mean for people with pre-existing conditions like HIV/AIDS or cancer?

  4. What are the non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in the Affordable Care Act?

  5. What if my state just legalized same-sex marriage? Are there circumstances that allow me to apply for health insurance outside of the open enrollment period? How can I get more information about my Affordable Care Act options and how health insurance works?

  6. How do I shop for a health plan if I have a chronic medical condition?

  7. How can the Affordable Care Act help to address health disparities within the LGBT community?

  8. What financial assistance is available to me?

  9. What other resources are available regarding health insurance options for LGBT people?

Learn more about how the ACA is improving the health of LGBT Americans at HeathCare.gov.

Health Care Reform

HHS engaged in broad outreach to help uninsured Americans gain access to quality affordable health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces. It is crucial for all communities to understand their options and how to enroll in coverage. HHS has ensured that LGBT communities are included in its outreach efforts in several ways:

  1. In conjunction with the first open enrollment season for the Marketplaces, HHS hosted an outreach and engagement summit for the LGBT community. The summit aimed to equip LGBT community leaders with the tools, information, and resources that they need to assist LGBT individuals and families in obtaining quality affordable health insurance coverage through the Marketplaces.
  2. The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) is on track to issue a report that examines the prevalence of, and the factors contributing to health insurance coverage among LGBT populations to help guide HHS in its Marketplace outreach to LGBT communities.
  3. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is greatly improving access to health coverage for LGBT Americans. Studies have shown that health disparities related to sexual orientation and gender identity are due in part to lower rates of health coverage. The ACA has helped address this issue in the following ways.
    • Treating all individuals and families equally in gaining access to coverage.
    • Promoting wellness by generally requiring insurers to cover preventive care at no additional cost.
    • Preventing discrimination based on pre-existing health conditions.
    • Eliminating lifetime limits on coverage for individuals with chronic diseases.
    • Permitting individuals to remain on their parents’ health plans until age 26.
    • Enhancing the availability of preventive services for women in new health plans and seniors on Medicare
Content created by Assistant Secretary for Health (ASH)
Content last reviewed on November 24, 2015