Out2Enroll Educates LGBTs About ACA Coverage

by Winnie McCroy

EDGE Editor

Wednesday September 18, 2013

The Center for American Progress, the Sellers Dorsey Foundation and the Federal Agencies Project have announced the launch of Out2Enroll, a campaign to inform LGBT communities about new coverage options available through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to encourage LGBT individuals to enroll. The campaign kicked off with a briefing at the White House that featured remarks from Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and LGBT health and health reform experts from across the country.

"Contrary to popular stereotypes, many LGBT people are struggling with a lack of insurance and difficulty accessing health care," said Kellan Baker of the Center for American Progress, which commissioned the study. "The new coverage options available under the Affordable Care Act will be critical to ensuring that LGBT people can get the care they need, when they need it."

Out2Enroll will work at the national and state levels to link LGBT communities with their new coverage options under the health reform law. The centerpiece of the campaign is a website tailored to LGBT community concerns that will include information about key issues such as same-sex partner coverage, transgender-inclusive coverage and LGBT-inclusive discrimination protections.

Out2Enroll will also work with partners such as Enroll America, Community Catalyst, consumer health advocates and LGBT equality organizations to host regional forums and conduct state-level advocacy campaigns to educate LGBT communities about available coverage and to encourage enrollment through the Health Insurance Marketplaces.

"Health is an LGBT equality issue," said James Williams of Trimpa Group, a partner of the Federal Agencies Project. "Out2Enroll will help make sure not only that LGBT people and their families have legal protections from discrimination, but also that they enjoy equal access to the benefits of health reform."

The initiative is based on a new study revealing that one in three lower-income LGBT adults is uninsured, and that the majority of these individuals are not aware of the new coverage options that will be available starting Oct. 1 of this year. This research also shows that targeted assistance from consumer assistance entities familiar with LGBT community concerns will be crucial to the success of efforts to enroll uninsured LGBT individuals in coverage.

"Like so many people across the country, LGBT community members have questions about what the health reform law means for them," said Christopher Labonte of the Sellers Dorsey Foundation. "Out2Enroll's targeted outreach and enrollment program will offer the kind of community-specific information and resources LGBT people need to navigate these new options."

Out2Enroll will launch a targeted outreach out to LGBTs on Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day. For more information, visit www.Out2Enroll.org.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.