Monday, December 03, 2018

Biphobia in the healthcare system is killing us

Biphobia in the healthcare system is killing us
By Dr. Beth Sherouse, BiNet USA Secretary




As bi+ community advocates, we’re often asked what “bi issues” are, exactly—what are the unique challenges that bi people face and where do we see the consequences of biphobia taking a toll on our lives. If there’s one issue that affects the bi+ community the most, it’s our health.

To put it bluntly, biphobia in the healthcare system is killing us. Compared not only to non-LGBTQIA+ people, but also to cisgender gay men and lesbians, bisexual people have significantly higher rates of a range of serious health problems. Moreover, we face serious obstacles in our attempts to access culturally competent and affordable health care.

As we rapidly approach the December 15th deadline for open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act, this issue is particularly pressing. According to a 2015 survey, while lesbian and gay respondents were uninsured at a slightly lower rate than their heterosexual counterparts, bisexual people were less likely to be insured than either group. Additionally, while only 7% of lesbian/gay and heterosexual respondents reported that they had not obtained medical care in the previous year due to cost, 16% of bisexual people reported the same.

We also know from earlier research that bi+ people are much less likely than gay men and lesbians to disclose our orientation to our medical providers, which means that when we do manage to overcome our disproportionately high poverty and lower rates of insurance coverage, we aren’t getting the culturally competent care we need to have healthy lives.

BiNet USA works to educate bi+ communities about the importance of critical programs like the Affordable Care Act in part because so many bi, pan, fluid, queer and no-labeled people report astronomically high rates of poor health. For more information or to enroll in health insurance coverage before the December 15th deadline, visit www.healthcare.gov