Beginning October 1st, New Yorkers across the state are enrolling in the new insurance exchange, thanks to The Affordable Care Act, also referred to as “Obamacare.” The new law will have an enormous and beneficial impact on the health of GLBT New Yorkers, especially those who are uninsured or underinsured.
For example, the health insurance exchanges may not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and you cannot be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions, such as HIV status.
Similarly, the change ensures there is a core set of basic health benefits that must be covered under every insurance plan, such as doctor visits, prescription drugs, and free preventive screenings for a variety of health issues, including HIV, blood pressure and cholesterol, depression, and tobacco use. Mental and behavioral health benefits must also be covered, and public health insurance coverage is expanded to individuals with tax credits available to make coverage more affordable.
One in four GLBT people are currently uninsured, and millions more are underinsured. Whether the barrier for affordable health care has been the cost of insurance or discrimination, these barriers are being removed. If you are interested in learning more or getting assistance accessing the New York State health exchange, call The Long Island GLBT Community Center, at 516.323.0011.