According to several recent surveys from Gallup, a leading research and analytics firm, there are many LGBT health disparities that exist in our country. LGBT individuals on average report lower levels of well-being and are also less likely to be insured.
While there are some silver linings in the results, the overall picture is unfortunately still sobering. Let's take a deeper look at what they found.
LGBT Americans Report Lower Well-Being
Gallup measures well-being from results of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey. The results are delivered on a scale of 0 to 100 with higher scores correlating to higher well-being. The survey questions focus on the following five areas: purpose, social, financial, community and physical.
The survey reports that LGBT Americans have an average Well-Being Index score of 58 compared to 62 for non-LGBT adults. According to Gallup, these results were unaffected even when taking into account the effects of gender, age, race and ethnicity, educational attainment, state of residence, and population density. LGBT individuals lagged in all five categories of well-being.
As we can see, the difference is particularly stark between LGBT women and non-LGBT women. These discoveries are based on 2,964 interviews with LGBT adults and 81,134 interviews with non-LGBT adults conducted Jan. 1-June 23, 2014, as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey. Check out the full Gallup report for a more detailed look and deeper analysis on the five individual categories.
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LGBT More Likely to be Uninsured
Gallup also released another recent report in which they discovered LGBT Americans are less likely to have health insurance than their non-LGBT counterparts. Rates of individuals without insurance were 4.4% higher than non-LGBT Americans. The good news coming out of this survey is that the percentage of uninsured LGBT individuals decreased from 23.7% in the previous quarter to 17.6%.
This quick and drastic decrease is largely a result of the Affordable Care Act. It is important to note that this also had an effect on the non-LGTB population. Although their decrease was not quite as significant, it shows that there are still many underlying disparities that must be addressed in order to close the gaps between our population segments.
The Bottom Line
Health and wellness for the LGBT community in this country are consistently lacking across the board. While Gallup was able to give us the synopsis of the story, they still can't give us the full picture of why these LGBT health disparities exist.
According to Gallup, population-based health and well-being data sources rarely measure sexual orientation and gender identity. They are calling for an increase in the quality of data that is being collected in order to help researchers, policymakers and healthcare providers better understand and address the roots of the problem.