Five Things to Know About Obamacare for LGBTQ Families
The Afforable Care Act (a.k.a. "Obamacare"), which became law in 2010, is in it's final swing of implementation. The first open enrollment period has come and gone and—as with any big piece of legislation—people across the country are still figuring out just what changes to expect from it.
Here are five things LGBTQ families should know about the new law:
Health Insurance Marketplace
The Affordable Care Act requires that each state have a Health Insurance Marketplace where anyone in the state can buy health coverage. So even if your employer doesn't offer coverage for domestic partners (or their children) you can still get quality affordable coverage through your state's marketplace. In addition, if you are between 138%-400% of the poverty level, you'll get help paying for your premium.
Although we are currently between open enrollment periods, you may qualify for a special enrollment period if you have income or life changes. Find out more at www.healthcare.gov.
Buying a Family Plan
Admittedly, the Affordable Care Act has had some bumps and is working out some kinks along the way. As such, there was some initial confusion as to how the federal law would work with varying state marriage laws. (To be fair, only 5 states had legalized same-sex marriage when the law passed, now there are 19 states - yay progress!)
Under the new law, states can now require insurance companies to include LGBTQ families when determining who is eligible to buy single-family plans. In states that do not have this requirement or where inclusive family plans are not available, LGBTQ parents can still be eligible for tax credits to buy insurance that covers their whole family.
Before the Affordable Care Act, to qualify for Medicaid as an adult in most states you either had to have children or be disabled. But now, if you are below 138% of the poverty level, you might qualify for your state's Medicaid program even if you don't have children.
As originally written, the new law gave states the funds needed in order to offer Medicaid coverage to low-income adults who could not afford the full cost of health coverage. However, the 2012 Supreme Court ruling made it optional for states to expand their Medicaid program to cover these adults. You can find out if your state has expanded Medicaid here.
The Affordable Care Act bans discrimination by health insurance companies on the basis of sex, sex stereotypes, gender identity, or sexual orientation.
The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from charging more or discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions. This includes serious conditions like cancer and HIV. In addition, being gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, or transgender can no longer be considered a pre-existing condition.
Have your coverage or buying options been enhanced as an LGBTQ family under the new law? MomsRising is collecting stories from across the country about how families are being affected. Tell us about it.
Here are some other great links with more info on how the Affordable Care Act affects LGBTQ families: