PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Under the Affordable Care Act, LGB adults are insured at the same rate as straights in the U.S. but are more likely to avoid necessary medical treatment due to cost, MedicalXPress reports.
Researchers analyzed three data sets from the CDC spanning from 2014-15 (the first year the survey asked about sexual orientation) to 2016-17, the most current data set. The study included about 330,000 adults between ages 18-64, 4.3 percent of whom identified as LGB.
Of those surveyed via the study, 16.4 percent of LGB adults reported avoiding or delaying medical treatment for financial reasons, compared to 14.2 percent of their straight peers. Given the large number of people surveyed, that difference proved statistically significant, MedicalXPress reports.
The study was publishd in the Aug. 6 edition of Health Affairs.
Though the study did not explore the cause of the difference in being able to afford medical treatments based on prior studies, researchers said one possible explanation is that more LGB adults had individually purchased insurance, which may have higher copays or deductibles than employer-sponsored insurance. Another possibility is that on average LGB individuals may need more medical services than straight individuals, MedicalXPress reports.
In addition to similar levels of health insurance, the study also found that LGB individuals now report comparable levels of having a primary care doctor and having an annual check-up as their straight peers — approximately 77 percent and 66 percent, respectively, MedicalXPress reports.
Yet despite comparable levels of access to health care, LGB adults reported 5.3 days in the last month where poor health prevented them from doing normal activities, compared to 4.9 for their straight peers. Similarly, they reported 5.6 poor mental health days (days with stress, depression or emotional problems) in the last month, compared to 3.9, MedicalXPress reports.