When LGBTQ Missourians visit their healthcare provider they often do not know or understand their rights as patients. Knowing your rights makes it easier for you and your family to make informed decisions about your health, especially in times of emergency and crisis.
Can I visit my same sex/gender partner in the hospital if we are not legally married?
Yes. On January 18, 2011 the policy change went into effect for hospitals that receive Medicare and Medicaid funding. This change allows all patients to have the visitors of their choosing.
Can my same sex/gender spouse and I sign our child’s birth certificate?
If two legally married, cisgender females have a baby with one of them being the natal mother, then they both can legally sign the birth certificate of that child. If two legally married, cisgender males have a baby with one of them being the natal father, then only the natal father can sign the birth certificate. This is because of parentage laws in Missouri. Regardless of who signs the birth certificate, PROMO strongly advises parents to go through a second parent adoption process.
Can I be on my spouse’s insurance?
If an employer offers benefits to spouses must offer health benefits to ALL spouses, regardless of gender. If you are not married, please check your employer benefits package for domestic partner or plus one coverage. For more information about signing up for Health Insurance through the Affordable Care Act (also known as ObamaCare) or other rights about your health insurance coverage, check out Healthcare.gov.
Can a physician refuse me medical care? If that happens, what do I do?
A doctor does have the right to refuse to offer you medical care for a number of reasons. For example, if the doctor’s practice is busy and unable to accept new patients; the doctor doesn’t have a working relationship with your health insurance company; or the doctor chooses not to treat patients with the illness or injury you suffer from. What should never happen is if a doctor refuses to treat you simply because you are LGBT, especially in an emergency situation OR treats you with disrespect or without dignity OR does not offer you a referral to another doctor. If you experience this, PROMO encourages you to contact PROMO at PROMO@PROMOonline.org or share your story with us (by scrolling below), and we will help you file a complaint with the appropriate people or agency.
What is happening with the ACA or Obamacare? How will that impact me?
At this time, we can’t be sure. At this time, PROMO encourages you to continue enrolling in the Affordable Care Act during regular and special enrollment periods and utilizing your coverage, especially your preventive care. Health disparities for the LGBTQ community are greater than our non-LGBTQ counterparts, and having access to health insurance is critical to address those disparities for us as individuals and as a community. PROMO will update you regularly as the landscape of healthcare changes, and we urge you to speak out often in support of healthcare.
Can I apply for FMLA to care for my spouse or child?
Not all employers are required to offer FMLA. You can find out more about FMLA and your rights and benefits here.
Can I access my partner’s social security?
Marriage equality made it possible for more people than ever to qualify for social security benefits. We encourage you to apply right away, even if you don’t know if you are eligible. You can find out more about Social Security and LGBTQ people here.
Where can I find an affirming LGBTQ primary care or specialty care provider in Missouri?
PROMO is currently working on a more comprehensive method of identifying and vetting resources and providers across the state. In the meantime, this list of community resources has a short list that may help.
Do I have to come out to my doctor?
Coming out to your doctor is a personal decision, however LGBTQ people face unique health disparities. If your doctor has that knowledge, they may be able to treat you more comprehensively in both the short and long term.
If my insurance company denies a claim, what do I do next?
As with all denials, PROMO encourages you to file an appeal with your insurance company. If you have been denied coverage for LGBTQ-related care (hormones, transition-related surgery, fertility, etc.), please contact PROMO at PROMO@PROMOonline.org or share your story with us below and we will contact you to help you with next steps.
If I’ve been discriminated against in a healthcare setting, what are my options?
If you still in immediate need of help, please dial 911. If not, please contact us at PROMO@PROMOonline.org or share your story with us below, and we will contact you. There are a number of next steps that can be taken, and PROMO always encourages people to file a complaint when discrimination occurs.Those complaints are often the catalyst for change to happen.