What’s Harder to Bear Than the Cost of Health Insurance? Being In Need Without It

Written by | Lifestyle

healthcare illustration

The cost of health insurance can be intimidating, but it’s better than risking bankruptcy.

Whether you’re self-employed, unemployed, or covered under an employer’s health-care plan, finding affordable health insurance can be a frustrating, time consuming process. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) added many benefits for LGBTQ individuals and families, but you should still do your research to find the best plan for your particular needs. Affordable health insurance exists, but qualifying can be tricky, and you want to make sure you end up with the coverage you need.

How The ACA Helps LGBTQ Families

The ACA ensures that affordable health insurance is available in every state to individuals and families who cannot afford pricier care. In general, fewer families with parents who are LGBTQ have health insurance than families in general, because many employers don’t offer coverage for same-sex partners or their children. Thus, it can be very costly for parents who are LGBTQ to insure their entire families — but thanks to the ACA, many more children with parents who are LGBTQ are finally able to access the coverage that they need.

The ACA bans Health Insurance Marketplaces (and the plans sold in them) from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBTQ-led families can now enjoy comprehensive coverage without being discriminated against based on the people they love or what their families look like. Transgender people are also entitled to increased access to coverage without worries about being denied based on their gender identity or expression.

In addition, the ACA prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions such as cancer and HIV. Before the ACA, transgender people or people living with HIV could be suddenly dropped from plans or denied coverage. However, since January of 2014, people living with HIV ought to be able to receive health coverage that includes their treatment plans, and being transgender is no longer regarded as a pre-existing condition.

Health Insurance Marketplaces

The Marketplaces act as a one-stop shop for health insurance. Each state offers its own Health Insurance Marketplace. In many states,

LGBTQ heads of household are able to buy single-family plans. However, in states where inclusive family plans are not available, LGBTQ-led households should still be eligible for tax credits to buy plans that cover their whole family.

The Cost of Going Uninsured

Health insurance might seem expensive, but before you decide to go without, take a careful look at the risks. For instance, according to WebMD, there’s a 1 in 5 chance you will land in the ER at some point between the ages of 25 and 44 — a trip that could easily cost you as much as $1,450. If you need surgery on a broken arm, for example, you could be on the hook for more than $16,000 if you’re without insurance. In fact, one in four uninsured people will lose all their savings to medical bills, which remains the leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S.

The Cost of Being Insured

According to eHealth, premiums in 2017 for individual coverage averaged $393 per month while premiums for family plans averaged $1,021 per month. The average annual deductible for individual plans was $4,328 and the average deductible for family plans was $8,352. That means that last year, the average family paid $9,996 for coverage alone, and if they met their deductible, a total of just under $18,000. Meanwhile, an average individual spent $3,852 on coverage and – if they spent another $4,358 to meet their deductible – a total of $8,210.

Companies that Insure LGBT People

Each year, the Human Rights Campaign produces the Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies from 0 to 100 on their treatment of LGBT employees. The index considers five criteria when rating companies, including: sexual orientation and gender identity in the company’s equal employment opportunity policy; domestic partner benefits; transgender-inclusive health insurance coverage; overall organizational LGBTQ competency; and public commitment for LGBTQ-specific efforts. Some of the Top 25 Companies include names you’ll recognize: They include AT&T Inc., The Walt Disney Company, and Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. The full list is available online at hrc.org.

The Bottom Line

Health insurance is necessary, and you’re better off budgeting for health insurance expenses than risking bankruptcy. The ACA made it easier to find affordable healthcare for those who don’t work at companies where such benefits are company policy. Do your research, and remember that when you have your health, you have everything.

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Last modified: July 18, 2018