Nevada is a leading state to provide care to LBGTQ+ communities
Diversity is something that we recognize and honor every day by promoting dignity and equal rights, and increasing visibility of LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and the plus sign includes other identities) communities.
But the month of June holds a special significance; the 1969 Stonewall Inn uprising between police and the gay rights movement in New York City is a historical event that brought everything to light. As the riots progressed, an international gay rights movement — and Pride Month — were born.
We’ve made progress since then; in 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) released the first federal civil rights law to prohibit discrimination in healthcare based on sex. An estimated 5.5 percent of Nevadans identify as LGBTQ, the third-highest rate in the nation, according to the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute; the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Health Equity Report also found that Nevada is one of leading states in the country to support LGBTQ+ patient-centered care, and offer transgender inclusive healthcare benefits to employees.
However, LGBTQ+ communities continue to face discrimination, bias, stigma, and inadequate healthcare, and often face barriers to accessing care. The National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities identified LGBTQ+ communities as a “health disparity population” (2018). Cases of discrimination, harassment, and negative experiences with doctors or nurses in the past may cause LGBTQ+ individuals to not seek medical attention.
Addressing the health disparities that the LGBTQ+ communities face is a step towards improving the health and well-being of the LGBTQ+ individuals. That’s why Nevada Health Link is one of Nevada’s trusted agencies that aims to help the underinsured population get access to the quality care they need at the most affordable rate, while working to close the gap on health disparities.
Nevada Health Link is committed to addressing and reducing the health inequities faced by LGBTQ+ communities, while also acknowledging that there is much work needed in overcoming health disparities they experience.
Barriers to Healthcare
The need for a safe space inside the doctor’s office is critical to the well-being of a patient, yet the fear of discrimination can cause many LGBTQ+ individuals to avoid seeking healthcare. In a National Center for Transgender Equality survey report, 23 percent of transgender respondents did not see a doctor when they needed to because of fear of mistreatment.
LGBTQ+ people of color may face even bigger barriers to health equity. According to UCLA’s Williams Institute of Law, more Black LGBTQ+ adults than Black non-LGBTQ+ adults were uninsured (25% vs. 17%).
Nevada Health Link is here for Nevadans who do not have employee sponsored health insurance and/or do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. Nevada Health Link offers up to 126 plan options from seven name brand carriers, giving consumers autonomy to choose their health insurance based on their individual needs and budget. This is critical to those in the LGBTQ community who may feel a lack of trust in the healthcare industry already, giving them the ability to pick their doctors and care providers based on the plans they have selected.
Data from the Nevada and United States Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System shows that LGBTQ+ individuals have an uninsured rate of 14.3 percent as compared to 9 percent of individuals identifying as straight (2018).
Nevada clinics promoting health & equity
Nevada Health Link wants to ensure no Nevadan feels unsafe or discriminated against when receiving care, which is why it partners with organizations such as The Center Las Vegas to help Nevadans gain the resources they need. Free enrollment assisters are also available in person and over the phone, in multiple languages, to help individuals through the enrollment process and are there to help Nevadans answer questions about their plans, what their coverage includes and how to navigate their plans after coverage begins. There’s also The Huntridge Family Clinic, the only LBGTQ+ healthcare clinic in southern Nevada, which was recently recognized for its growth and demand in services.
By signing up for insurance through Nevada Health link, LGBTQ+ individuals and their families could qualify for the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) if they experienced Qualifying Life Events (QLE): getting married or divorced, moving, change of job/income, giving birth or adoption, loss of coverage, turning 26 or gaining legal status.
Most importantly, all plans on the Exchange include coverage of the 10 essential health benefits, including mental health services, prescription drugs, rehabilitation, preventative services and so on. With LGBTQ+ individuals suffering higher rates of mental health illnesses and comorbidities, the coverage of these services can be a lifeline. Access to quality health insurance is just one step for individuals to put their mental health on the forefront.
Nevada Health Link recognizes that it is more important than ever to celebrate and support LGBTQ+ communities, and will continue to advocate for healthcare policies that break down inequities and enable all individuals to have access to affordable medical insurance and support. LGBTQ+ friendly services in Nevada also include:
To find more Nevada hospitals/clinics that hold high scores in non-discrimination, and patient and community engagement, use the Healthcare Facilities Search created by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.