Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) Celebrates Pride Month

Date: June 1, 2022

CMS OMH Celebrates Pride Month

Throughout June, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) celebrates Pride Month. In recognition of this health observance, it is important to mention that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Two spirit (LGBTQIA2S+) community is comprised of various groups that have their own unique health disparities. While members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community share the burden of often being stigmatized for their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, their individual experiences vary by race, ethnicity, income, and other characteristics.

Pride Month is also an opportunity to focus on health care outcomes and access of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. For example, compared to other men, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are impacted by higher rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, tobacco and drug use, and depression. Lesbians are less likely to get preventive services for cancer. And among transgender men and women, Black people had the highest rates of new HIV diagnoses, followed by Hispanic people.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, uninsured rates among LGBTQIA2S+ populations have seen a sizeable decrease, falling from 17.4% in 2013 to 8.3% in 2016. The overall uninsured rate for the LGBTQIA2S+ population was 12.7% in 2019, compared to 11.4% for non- LGBTQIA2S+ individuals. Despite improved insurance rates, this population continues to face barriers to care. These barriers include being more likely to delay care, less likely to have a usual source of care, and more likely to be concerned about medical bills than their non-LGBTQIA2S+ counterparts. In addition, barriers can include a lack of health care professionals adequately trained in providing culturally competent care, as well as high cost-sharing and/or lack of coverage for certain services including hormone treatments and other gender-affirming care. Telehealth has become a way to deliver “life-saving” health care for this community, especially for those that live in rural areas or other locations without access to inclusive facilities, providers, and treatments.

During Pride Month, CMS OMH is highlighting how you can help address these barriers and disparities impacting the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Below is a list of resources that you can share during Pride Month and beyond to help individuals get the most out of their health coverage.