Post Content

This past week marked the 11th Annual LGBT Health Awareness Week, a nationwide event that promotes the unique health and wellness needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. This week, we highlight the progress our Commonwealth and the country has made to ensure that LGBT Americans have the same rights and protections as other Americans, particularly in access to quality, confidential health care.

Access to affordable care has historically been difficult for the LGBT community. LGBT-identified individuals, particularly transgender Americans, frequently have more complex healthcare needs. On average, LGBT-identified Americans suffer from higher rates of cancer, obesity, HIV/AIDS and mental illness than their heterosexual or cis-gender counterparts. For those with chronic conditions such as HIV/AIDS, caps on annual and lifetime health insurances coverage could lead to astronomical bills and debt for many in the community.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act,  LGBT health equity has taken a few leaps forward. While we in Massachusetts have had this equality for over a decade, under the Affordable Care Act, legally married couples in all states are treated equally when it comes to coverage or financial assistance.  This Lifetime and annual dollar caps are no longer permissible, so you can not be denied the use of the insurance you pay for, ever.  In addition, lifesaving screenings and preventative doctor visits are now covered under all new compliant plans with little or no co-pay, meaning illness can be caught and treated soon.  Most importantly: no one can be denied coverage based on their health history, and with new subsidized and affordable options available with the ACA, this means everyone can have access the health coverage they need.

LGBT-identified individuals are also at an increased risk for mental health issues like depression, suicide, anxiety, and eating disorders, compared to their heterosexual or cis-gender counterparts. Thanks to the ACA, there is more integration of behavioral health with psychical health care, helping physicians catch mental health disorders sooner, and  making mental health treatment more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Through the work of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth and the newly formed Commission on Elder LGBT Support, Massachusetts continues to pave the way in forward thinking policy that reduces health disparities for LGBT-identified people in the Commonwealth. 

Written By:

Communications Director, Executive Office of Health and Human Services

Communications Fellow

SSYI Program Manager

Tags: , ,

Recent Posts

What You Need to Know about MassOptions! posted on Nov 25

What You Need to Know about MassOptions!

The number of older adults and individuals with disabilities in Massachusetts is rapidly growing. We know that navigating programs and services can sometimes be complicated, and we are committed to facilitating better access for the people we serve. That is why the Baker-Polito Administration along   …Continue Reading What You Need to Know about MassOptions!

A picture is worth a thousand words… posted on Nov 24

A picture is worth a thousand words…

A picture is worth a thousand words.  It also could be worth a new home for a child in need. “There is something about seeing the face of a child awaiting adoption that speaks to the heart,” said Jake Murtaugh with MARE, Inc. “Each picture   …Continue Reading A picture is worth a thousand words…

Women Veterans Recognized for Service and Strong Network at Appreciation Event posted on Nov 10

Women Veterans Recognized for Service and Strong Network at Appreciation Event

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is proud to honor all of those who have served our country in the armed forces this Veteran’s Day. Massachusetts is also proud to have a strong Women Veteran’s Network that acts as a central resource for women veterans. Established in   …Continue Reading Women Veterans Recognized for Service and Strong Network at Appreciation Event