Health & Wellness

LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights

PHOTO CREDIT: LGBT HEALTH LINK

PHOTO CREDIT: LGBT HEALTH LINK

This is an exciting time for LGBT health! Last week alone, HHS and the AAMC released new reports on improvements in LGBT health care. On November 18th, 2014 LGBT HealthLink, Missouri’s statewide LGBT organization PROMO, and lawyer Corey Prachniak released the first ever LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights. This Healthcare Bill of Rights outlines all of the protections and rights that LGBT people have in health care today, and you can even get it on a handy wallet-sized card.

This is hugely exciting. LGBT healthcare rights have been expanding rapidly over the past few years, but if people don’t know about what’s changed then the victories don’t matter. LGBT people still see huge health disparities across the board. We smoke at higher rates, experience depression and anxiety at higher rates, we’re less likely to get regular check ups because we avoid doctors after experiencing discrimination in the exam room. But we also are vibrant and resourceful and fabulous and I’m excited for this new resource that people can use to advocate for the healthcare they deserve.

I work at a nonprofit that focuses on LGBTQ health equity and even I learned something from reading the Healthcare Bill of Rights. For example, did you know that in order to be accredited by the Joint Commission hospitals must now have an LGBT nondiscrimination policy? I find that just having what I already know written out feels empowering. While I knew that the insurance plans sold on the insurance exchanges (aka Obamacare) can’t discriminate against LGBT people, reading it is reassuring. Speaking of which, now is a great time to get enrolled if you don’t have health insurance. You can check out Out2Enroll for information on enrolling as an LGBT person.

So check out the LGBT Healthcare Bill of Rights and feel empowered to go get some good healthcare!

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