LGBT consumers less likely to have insurance, Gallup finds

Individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) are less likely to have health insurance compared to the non-LGBT population, according to a new Gallup survey.

Although the Affordable Care Act helps the LGBT community obtain health coverage by prohibiting discrimination against consumers with pre-existing conditions and removing payment caps, the rate of uninsured LGBT decreased slightly from 24 percent to 17 percent since the health insurance exchange open enrollment period. The slight drop also comes despite the federal government requiring most exchange plans to cover same-sex spouses. 

That uninsured rate is still higher than rates for non-LGBT adults, which fell from 17 percent to 13 percent, Gallup found.

The "data suggest that LGBT adults experience hurdles in accessing health insurance and resources," Gallup said. "Compared with their straight counterparts, bisexual adults, both men and women, and lesbians were less likely to report a usual place to go for medical care and more likely to report not seeking needed medical care because they could not afford it."

Gallup suggested that one reason the LGBT community is less insured is that they're "significantly more likely" to say they lack enough money for their medical needs at least once in the past year. For example, 25 percent of LGBT adults said they didn't have enough money in at least one case, while just 17 percent of non-LGBT individuals said the same thing.

"Understanding the 'why' is crucial information to assist policymakers and health advocates in the development of policies and programs designed to reduce health and well-being disparities associated with LGBT status," Gallup added.

To learn more:
- here's the Gallup survey