It’s no secret that there is a lot of energy, momentum, and effort among health plans and employers to ramp up their diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. National surveys show that both health plans and employers are taking action, but there is still a disconnect between actions taken and the impact felt by members.
The LGBTQ+ healthcare experience is especially challenging. 45% of LGBTQ+ employees have difficulty finding a PCP and 60% have difficulty finding a mental health provider.1
From discrimination to difficulty finding a primary care or mental health provider–more than 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ individuals postpone or avoid care. Lack of engagement with the healthcare system can mean a higher likelihood of chronic conditions and increased use of the emergency department for members.
Now more than ever is the time for health plans to offer their LGBTQ+ members access to quality providers that understand their needs, empower through education and preventive care awareness, and advocate all year long, not just during Pride.
LGBTQ+ members deserve to feel seen, supported, and included in their health plan. Here are some immediate steps health plans can take:
Revisit plan policies to remove gendered language that may alienate LGBTQ+ members
Update forms and other documents to reflect all gender identities
Add fields for preferred name and pronouns on member portals
Train your staff on affirming care and respectful communication
Provide access to affirming and clinically aware providers
Offer inclusive products that directly meet the needs of LGBTQ+ members and covered dependents
Drive awareness, interest and enrollment by engaging your members and letting them know you’re committed to providing inclusive care
Collect and report on Health Equity data
LGBTQ+ members and their families need access to vetted, affirming, culturally-competent care to address their unique needs. Whether you’re a member of the LGTBQ+ community or an ally looking to support your members, support should be available year-round.
1. Included Health Research Study 2020 and IBM MarketScan national claims data