This essay originally appeared on Medium.com on November 15, 2017. It was also published in the Huffington Post.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: open enrollment season!
♫Silver plans, silver plans. It’s healthcare time in the city.♫
Despite the Trump Administration trying to Ebeneezer Scrooge its way out of having to actually provide affordable health care coverage for the American public, the enrollment period to sign up for insurance is now open from November 1 to December 15. (And despite the Grinch’s efforts, enrollments are at a record high this year.)
But what does this mean for you, a bisexual, pansexual, fluid, or queer person who either doesn’t have insurance or is wondering if you can save money with another plan?
It means it’s TIME TO GET ENROLLED. And I’m here to tell you why.
1. You are not alone! (If you don’t have health insurance, that is.)
The bisexual+ community has very low rates of health insurance coverage, compared to gay, lesbian, and straight people. Among lesbian, gay, and bisexual respondents to a recent survey by the Center for American Progress, 19% of bisexual people still lacked insurance, compared to 6% of gay men and 4% of lesbians.
2. Our community NEEDS insurance!
Bisexual+ people face distinct health disparities compared to gay, lesbian, and straight people. For example, 42% of bisexual transgender people report having a disability, compared to 34% of gay and lesbian transgender people and 22% of straight transgender people.
And bisexual+ folks are going without needed care because we can’t afford it. In one study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16% of bisexual people reported not getting needed medical care in the past year due to cost, compared to 12% of gay and lesbian and 8% of heterosexual people. Among bisexual transgender people, the percentage doubles.
If you can’t afford care, or have decided not to go to the doctor in the past few months because of cost, please head on over to www.healthcare.gov to take a look at available plans.
3. We are awesome and deserve to be healthy. (Whatever that looks like for you.)
Did you know that (at least) two bisexual people were elected to public office in early November? Say congrats to Andrea Jenkins and Christy Holstege! That brings the number of out bisexual+ elected officials to nearly a dozen, including Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon.
You need to be healthy and well to run for office and if you’re going to run in 2018, you’d better head on over to www.healthcare.gov to get signed up.
4. Out2Enroll is here to help!
Are you super confused by all the options on www.healthcare.gov? You are not alone. There are trained professionals, competent on LGBT issues, ready to help you sign up for health insurance.
Visit www.out2enroll.org today to talk to someone.
7. Today at www.healthcare.gov.
8. You’re awesome and worthy of health and care.