You Deserve the Best Health Care

The biggest risk to your health is NOT visiting a health care provider to access the care you need and deserve. With recent policy changes, including the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the law is on your side. Stay up to date with all of these changes and become your own advocate!

You cannot be discriminated against by hospitals based on your sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability (which includes HIV status). This applies to services and interactions with healthcare providers.

• You cannot be charged more for health insurance or services because of your sexual orientation or gender identity.
• You cannot be denied or limited coverage based on “pre-existing conditions,” like sexual orientation, gender identity, or health condition (including HIV status).
• For chronic illnesses like HIV/AIDS, you are entitled to the care you need with no lifetime dollar limits.
• Same-sex spouses must be offered the same health insurance coverage as opposite-sex spouses—regardless of where you live. As long as you were married in a state that has marriage equality, you can enroll in spousal coverage.
• You have a right to medically necessary services, as determined by you and your provider (not the insurer), if those services are provided to other patients without regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
• Example: Estrogen for post-menopausal cisgender women AND for transgender women
• Colorado prohibits anti-transgender exclusions and clauses in private plans sold in Colorado.
• All free preventive services offered to cisgender (non-transgender) patients also apply to transgender
• Hormones and puberty-blockers are covered under Colorado Medicaid.
• You now have the right to get gender-affirming surgery as part of Medicare.
• Not all Marketplace plans or private plans cover gender-confirming surgery. Investigate the Evidence or Certificate of Coverage before you purchase a plan.
• Your marriage in Colorado will be recognized for all Medicaid.
• You may qualify for Medicaid if your household income is less than 133% Federal Poverty Level, even without being pregnant, married, or under 18 years old.

• You can have anyone you like visit you in the hospital or long-term care facility (nursing home), regardless of blood or legal relationship.
• You can fill out a Hospital Visitation Directive once admitted so as to leave no room for error or miscommunication.
• Hospitals must apply rules equally to everyone, i.e. opposite-sex and same-sex partner visitation at certain hours.
• You can appoint anyone to be your Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA), which is the person who would make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so (see resources below).

Under all Marketplace plans and most private plans, you have access to free preventive services to help you get the treatment you need. Services include:

• Immunizations
• Screenings for Depression, Tobacco-Use, Alcohol Misuse, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Domestic Violence, and more
• Annual Well Visits
• Contraception
• Women’s preventive services (e.g. Pap smear, mammography). This applies to both cisgender and transgender women.

• Seek out word of mouth recommendations from other LGBT people for both mental and medical healthcare.
• Call your health insurance plan — ask for a list of LGBT-friendly providers.
• Search for providers listed in an LGBT organization’s database
The Center – Advancing LGBT Colorado
The Gender Identity Center of Colorado
LGBTQIA Healthcare Guild of Denver
• Trans Health Boulder County
Gay and Lesbian Medical Association
Denver Health LGBTQ Patient Navigators
RAD Remedy — Trans & Queer Referral Aggregator Database (Yelp for providers)
• Search provider profiles for areas of interest and expertise in LGBT people and families
• Visit the clinic — look for LGBT magazines, pamphlets, or posters
• Meet with the provider. Does the provider seem comfortable with you and knowledgeable about your unique health issues?
• If for any reason you do not feel comfortable with your provider, it is your right to change providers with no hassle and no need to explain yourself.

Healthcare Bill of Rights
American Civil Liberties Union
National Center for Lesbian Rights
Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders
Lambda Legal
Human Rights Campaign — post-Defense Of Marriage Act information
Transgender Equality in Health Care
Coverage FAQs, e.g. are hormones and gender-confirming surgery covered? Includes how to fight discrimination
Free preventive health services
Joint Commission: Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community
Free Help with Insurance Application
CDC: LGBT Health
• From Coverage to Care: A Roadmap to Better Care and a Healthier You
Medical Forms & Information (Colorado)
• Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA)
• Advanced Directives (Living Will)
• CPR Directive
Health Labs – Fast, Private & Affordable Lab Testing

If you experience discrimination in health care, file a complaint immediately.

Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services
Joint Commission (accreditation program for hospitals) — The Joint Commission explicitly prohibits hospitals or other accredited providers from discriminating based on LGBTQ status
Colorado Division of Insurance
Colorado Civil Rights Division
• Your health insurance carrier.
• Note: if ID card has “CO-DOI,” your plan is subject to CO’s insurance laws and rules