Covered California has sent Certified Insurance Agents information and links on sensitivity and sales training for the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender community. The sensitivity training presentation and social media icons were developed by Out2Enroll a national organization encouraging the enrollment of the LGBT community into Marketplace health insurance. While the overall information is good, there is underlying sales element that reduces the community down to dollar signs instead of human beings.
Out2Enroll LGBT sensitivity and sales training
The Out2Enroll Covered California PDF presentation on the importance of reaching out to the LGBT community to assist them with enrolling in health insurance is a very good presentation. The information is not only useful for health insurance agents thinking of targeting the LGBT community, it is good information for everyone not familiar with the challenges of being Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, or Transgender. The presentation defines terms that may be unfamiliar for some people, discusses the health disparity and challenges facing the LGBT community, and offer suggestions on how to reach into the community to offer enrollment assistance.
[wpfilebase tag=file id=1296 /]
What is LGBT?
- LGBT: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender
- Sexual orientation: Not just about sexuality or who you are attracted to—also about who you love and who you create a family with
- -Heterosexual or straight
- -Gay or lesbian
- Gender identity: Each person’s deeply felt, internal knowledge of their own gender
- Transgender: A person whose gender identity is different from that typically associated with their assigned sex at birth
- Trans man: A person who was assigned the female sex at birth but identifies and lives as a man
- Trans woman: A person who was assigned the male sex at birth but identifies and lives as a woman
- Genderqueer/gender-nonconforming: A person who does not identify as exclusively male or female
- Gender transition: A process by which a transgender person changes from one sex to another –usually both legally and medically
LGBT Health Disparities
- ↑Tobacco and other substance use
- ↑Mental health concerns, such as depression and suicide attempts
- ↑Certain cancers, such as breast cancer
- ↑Experiences of bullying and violence
Especially: Transgender People
- Transgender people are frequently denied insurance coverage and health care just because of who they are
- Transgender exclusions remain in many plans
- Examples of exclusions:
- “Procedures or medical care performed in connection with sex reassignment” (State Medicaid)
- “Procedures, services, and supplies related to sex transformation” (State Medicaid managed care plan)
- “Transsexual surgery, regardless of medical necessity” (State Medicaid)
Queer and Intersex populations
I also like to include a Q and I at the end of the LGBT[QI] acronym. Q is for the term Queer adopted by folks who may not wish to identity with established sexual identities and may not subscribe to strict sexual definitions. I represents Intersex for people who were born with some form of both male and female genitalia. Both groups, those who identify as Queer and those who were born Intersex, each face many of the same challenges as their compatriots in the LGBT community. If the lack of social acceptance and discrimination based on one’s emotional and physical identity is one of the barriers of people in the LGBT community from enrolling, the QI population is just as affected.
Welcoming Queer environment
What is unclear in the presentation is who Out2Enroll is hoping to persuade that assisting the LGBTQI community with enrollment is a worthy cause. One page talks about creating a safe and welcoming environment with suggested elements such as –
- Display nondiscrimination policies
- Post “safe space” or rainbow stickers and posters
- Have LGBT reading materials available in waiting areas
- Provide unisex bathrooms
- Allow people to point or write down answers themselves on the application
Seriously? If they want agents to target the Chinese and Jewish communities would they suggest prominently displaying a money kitty and the Star of David?
Either you are in or you are out
Let’s face it, agents who are already comfortable working in the LGBTQI community are already doing it. If we are trying to motivate agents to assist individuals and families in the LGBTQI community because there is rainbow (a.k.a. commission pay day), that is just the wrong motivation. Frankly, I can see right through those disingenuous pronouncements that they are gay friendly. You need to walk the walk and talk the talk. You just can’t put on a mask to fool people that you are there to help them.
Sex reassignment surgery
People in the LGBTQI community are not as concerned about an agent’s sexual identity or whether they leave the Outword magazine in the waiting room. They, like all consumers, care that an agent knows health insurance and the laws governing discriminatory policies within health plans. In California can an agent point to the gender non-discrimination law that states that gender reassignment surgery is a covered necessary medical procedure? And, will the agent fight for a client to get the services he or she is entitled to?
All LGBTQI education is good
Overall the Out2Enroll material is good. The social media icons and images are informative if not a little provocative. But even if an agent doesn’t display the gay friendly images on his or her website or in the office, that is no reason to shy away from the assistance. Now, if the agent is a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, you are unlikely to get much assistance with health insurance and I doubt they will display any LGBTQI support material.