Growing older presents challenges for millions of Americans, however, members of the LGBTQ+ community are notably hard-hit. According to the UCLA Williams Institute, LGBTQ+ older adults face many additional barriers to receiving health care. This guide connects the elders of the LGBTQ+ community to the resources and data necessary to assist them in finding the care that they need.
Why Do LGBTQ+ Elders Have Low Rates of Health Insurance?
Several factors contribute to historically lower rates of insurance among the LGBTQ+ population. One major cause for this trend has been the failure of companies to treat same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples equally in their benefits offerings. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that the number of companies offering health care coverage to same-sex couples increased from just 43% in 2016 to 74% in 2020. If this upward trend continues, easier access to health care for more members of the LGBTQ+ community will be possible.
What Health Care Challenges Do LGBTQ+ Elders Face?
According to the American Psychological Association, over 2.4 million Americans 65 and older identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. And there’s a significant health care disparity between the LGBTQ+ community and the remainder of the population.
In line with Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders (SAGE), there are several key areas of the health care system wherever LGBTQ+ elders expertise care disparities. These include access to health care, treatment for HIV and AIDS, the prevalence of mental health conditions, and risk for chronic physical conditions. Experiences of discrimination further exacerbate these disparities.
In line with Candrian, monetary security, a lifetime of discrimination and a significant lack of family support also play a role. “LGBTQ+ older adults are two to three times less likely to be married and they’re three to four times less likely to have kids,” Candrian said. “And they’re also more likely to be estranged from family and even friends. So, they really are aging with a very thin network of support.”
An unfortunate reality for many members of the LGBTQ+ community in the healthcare system is a difference in treatment by doctors and other healthcare workers. Discrimination can range from doctors simply not understanding the issues LGBTQ+ adults face to actual denial of service over a patient’s gender identity or sexual orientation. “Only one or 2 therapists I’ve ever met actually understood what we have a tendency to go through. Actual medical doctors, they don’t get it,” Casey Jenkins, who identifies as bisexual, told Retire Guide.
**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.