Dealing with Health Insurance

Your are probably well aware of the disadvantage that LGBT couples have when it comes to health insurance coverage. The inability by an employed LGBT person covered by health insurance to purchase a “family plan”—as available to heterosexual married couples—places an undue economic burden on LGBT couples and their children. In fact, unmarried people are nearly three times as unlikely to have health insurance as married people[i]. Even with passage of the Affordable Care Act, one partner in a couple may not be able to afford health insurance even though the other partner has employer-sponsored coverage—leaving the couple open to an economic catastrophe if the uninsured partner has a health crisis. Meanwhile, an insurance plan’s coverage for domestic partners is determined by the state law in which the insurance company is headquartered. Therefore, even if an employer offers domestic partner benefits, the health insurance company may not be able to cover the LGBT spouse or partner.

There probably is no one in the United States who does not know that the cost of medical care is exorbitant. Sixty-seven percent of all bankruptcies are the result of medical costs; people with a cancer diagnosis have the highest bankruptcy rate of all[ii]. It is quite possible that you survived cancer some years ago and have resumed your normal life—and are still paying the medical bills.

Due to the development of gene therapy and novel biotechnology delivery systems, drugs to treat cancer are becoming ever more individualized and specialized. This is great news as far as the capacity to treat cancer and reduce the likelihood of metastasis. However, pharmaceutical companies are charging an enormous amount for these medications—and insurance companies are reluctant to pay the costs. Therefore, these pharmaceutical interventions may not be utilized by most cancer patients.

[i] Unmarriedequality.org. Domestic Partner Benefits F.A.Q. Website: http://www.unmarried.org/domestic-partnership/benefits/faq/

[ii] Ubel, Peter. (August 16, 2013). Beware Of Cancer Metastasizing To Your Wallet. Forbes Webpage: http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterubel/2013/08/16/beware-of-cancer-metastasizing-to-your-wallet/