Study: One in five LGBT Minnesotans lacks health insurance


A new report released Thursday shows that one in five LGBT Minnesotans lack health insurance. PFund, a foundation committed to strengthening Minnesota’s LGBT community, commissioned the study (pdf) including a survey by Rainbow Health Initiative of 1,100 LGBT Minnesotans about their health and health care.

The survey found that more than 20 percent LGBT Minnesotans do not have health insurance compared to 6.7 percent of all Minnesotans. Thirty-two percent of LGBT patients are not “out” to their health care provider and 36 percent said they felt their clinic was not knowledgeable about LGBT health issues. Despite this, 79 percent of respondents said having a LGBT-competent provider is important to them.

The report was not optimistic that the gap between insured and uninsured would close any time soon.

“As the overall economy continues to worsen, and then slowly to reverse its decline, the number of unemployed or underemployed LGBT individuals and families who will be uninsured or underinsured will continue to rise,” wrote the report authors. “And as the cost of health care also continues to increase, adequate health insurance coverage will be further out of reach of many LGBT community members.”

The report noted obvious factors — the lack of relationship rights for gay, lesbian and transgender people — and outlined some steps to bridge the gap, including “support for marriage equality as it relates to family recognition and well-being, mental health, and access to health insurance and other economic benefits” and “improved domestic partner benefits (where marriage equality does not exist) and related tax inequality issues associated with IRS regulations regarding imputed income.”

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