One Colorado, the state’s leading LGBTQ advocacy group, has released a new report gauging the current state of a variety of issues regarding to healthcare for queer folks.
Closing the Gap, The Turning Point for LGBTQ Health, researched by the One Colorado Education Fund, assessed things like access to healthcare, personal health and well-being, and gender-affirming healthcare. In addition, it provided recommendations for providers, policy makers, and organizations that serve the LGBTQ community.
The report stated that while many individuals within the LGBTQ population face similar concerns to the general population, the consequential demographic faces several unique challenges which affect their ability to live healthy and affirmed lives. While there have been many advancements in the realm of legal equality, there is still more work that needs to be done in regards to health protections.
“Despite the incredible progress we’ve made to advance public policy that will benefit and protect LGBTQ Coloradans, the reality of achieving health has stagnated, or in some cases worsened, for LGBTQ Coloradans,” said Cara Cheevas, policy director of One Colorado.
Since the last health report published in 2011, the new report highlights remaining disparities, especially for transgender folks in comparison to their LGBQ counterparts.
The survey, commissioned by OCEF to Simon Analytics, reached more than 70,000 people and, with an estimated 4.6 percent of Coloradoans identifying as trans, the survey specifically targeted that demographic to incorporate those unique experiences.
The average age of those surveyed was 25-34 (28 percent) with a majority of them being white/caucasian (89 percent).
The survey revealed that more LGBTQ Coloradans have insurance (95 percent) compared to the coverage rate in 2011 (90 percent). However, barriers still exist in accessing healthcare for many LGBTQ people, including cost, LGBTQ-competent and inclusive healthcare providers, and a feeling of safety in openness with providers.
In 2018, 34 percent of trans folks reported having been denied coverage for medical services, such as hormones, PrEP, HIV medications, and gender-affirming care.
Despite policy advancements in LGBTQ protections, fewer in the 2018 survey stated that they are comfortable being open with their healthcare providers than in 2011, a decrease from 59 percent to 57 percent.
Healthcare expenses remain the greatest barrier to seeking services, the report assessed, an increase from 71 percent to 76 percent since the 2011 survey.
“With a thoughtful approach by health systems, policy makers, health providers, service organizations, and community members, we can make the necessary advancements to improve both the lived and legal equality in health care of LGBTQ Coloradan and their families,” said Cheevers.
The full report will be officially released tonight at Mile High United Way with the findings explained by Dr. Rita Lee of University of Colorado School of Medicine, Dr. Sarah Burgamy of University of Colorado School of Medicine, Sable Schultz, of The Center on Colfax, and Daniel Ramos and Cara Cheevers of One Colorado.