Despite Increased Insurance Coverage, Nonwhite Sexual Minorities Still Experience Disparities In Access To Care [Original Article]

Previous studies suggest that members of sexual minority groups have poorer access to health services than heterosexuals. However, few studies have examined how sexual orientation interacts with gender and race to affect health care experience. Moreover, little is known about the role in health care disparities played by economic strains such as unemployment and poverty, which may result from prejudice and discrimination based on sexual orientation. Using data for 2013–15 from the National Health Interview Survey, we found that most members of sexual minority groups no longer have higher uninsurance rates than heterosexuals, but many continue to experience poorer access to high-quality care. Gay nonwhite men, bisexual white women, and bisexual and lesbian nonwhite women are disadvantaged in multiple aspects of access, compared to straight white men. Only some of these disparities are attributable to economic factors, which implies that noneconomic barriers to care are substantial. Our results suggest that the intersection of multiple social identities can reveal important gaps in health care experience. Making culturally sensitive services available may be key to closing the gaps.

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