LGBTQ Health Care Rights and Resources

The Division of Insurance (DOI) regulates the health insurance industry in Colorado and ensures companies follow state and federal laws. The following resources help explain the rights and protections of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans when accessing health care and benefits, and provide additional information when working with a medical or behavioral health provider, as well as various community resources. 

If you feel you have been discriminated against by a health insurance plan, you can contact the Division to ask a question or file a complaint at 303-894-7490 / 800-930-3745 / DORA_Insurance@state.co.us or visit our "Ask a Question / Make a Complaint" page.

If you feel you’ve been discriminated against within a health care setting, you can file a charge of discrimination with the Colorado Civil Rights Division through their "Filing a Charge of Discrimination" page.

You can also file a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services here.  

Know Your Health Care Rights

Colorado Regulation 4-2-62 prohibits discrimination in private health insurance plans based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Private insurance plans sold in Colorado* CANNOT:

  • Inquire about an applicant’s or a beneficiary’s sexual orientation or gender identity in an application for coverage;
  • Deny, cancel, limit, or refuse to issue or renew a policy because of a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity;
  • Deny, exclude, or otherwise limit coverage for medically necessary services, in accordance with generally accepted professional standards of care, based upon a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

*If your health plan ID card has “CO-DOI” on it, your plan is regulated by the Colorado Division of Insurance and subject to Colorado’s insurance laws and regulations. 

Get Covered by Health Insurance

Why should LGBTQ people get covered?

  • You may qualify for financial assistance.
  • You can no longer be discriminated against as an LGBTQ person.
  • Same-sex spouses have equal access to family coverage.
  • Every health care plan covers core "essential health benefits" like routine check-ups and preventive care.

How can Coloradans get coverage, including LGBTQ people?

Federal and State Rights and Protections for LGBTQ People Seeking Health Care

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a landmark civil rights decision, ruling that LGBTQ workers are protected under Title VII of the Civil Right Act and cannot be fired solely based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This ruling means that LGBTQ Americans throughout the country cannot be fired from their job, and thus lose access to their employer-based health care, because of who they are. Governor Polis issued a statement in support of the SCOTUS decision, reiterating the administration’s commitment “to lead on anti-discrimination policies… to build a Colorado for All.” LGBTQ Coloradans have been protected from employment-based discrimination since 2008, when the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act was passed.

The DOI is committed to ensuring LGBTQ Coloradans have equitable access to health insurance coverage and the benefits and services that will allow them to lead healthy and affirmed lives. The Division uses its regulatory authority over health insurance companies to enforce federal and state protections for LGBTQ individuals seeking health care; however, if you feel you have been discriminated against, and/or denied access to benefits, please contact the appropriate state or federal authorities to ask a question or file a complaint. 

Additional Resources for LGBTQ Health Care Rights

The DOI is committed to ensuring lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans are able to access health care and live healthy and affirmed lives. Since the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the state's expansion of Health First Colorado (Medicaid) in 2014, over 600,000 Coloradans have gained insurance, and the rate of uninsured LGBTQ individuals has fallen from 10% to 5% since 2011 (Closing the Gap: The Turning Point for LGBTQ Health, 2019). Yet LGBTQ Coloradans still often face difficulties in achieving a healthy life. In addition to concerns about healthcare affordability, access, and the quality of care, they face several unique challenge that affect their ability to live healthy and affirmed lives. Lack of understanding, discrimination, stigma, violence, and higher rates of health problems are just some of the issues that can compound and result in worse health outcomes.

For more information about the LGBTQ health insurance-related issues, contact Cara Cheevers, Behavioral Health Program Manager for the Division of Insurance - cara.cheevers@state.co.us.

 


Contact Information
Division of Insurance, Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies
1560 Broadway, Suite 850
Denver, CO 80202