Health Care

health symbolKNOW YOUR RIGHTS
LGBT Health Care in Colorado

YOU DESERVE THE BEST HEALTH CARE. The biggest risk to your health is NOT visiting a health care provider to access the care you need and deserve.

With recent policy changes, including the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the law is on your side.


Patient Non-Discrimination

  • You cannot be discriminated against by hospitals based on your sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability (which includes HIV status). This applies to services and interactions with healthcare providers.

 Health Insurance Coverage

  • You cannot be charged more for health insurance or services because of your sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • You cannot be denied or limited coverage based on “pre-existing conditions,” like sexual orientation, gender identity, or health condition (including HIV status).
  • For chronic illnesses like HIV/AIDS, you are entitled to the care you need with no lifetime dollar limits.
  • Same-sex spouses must be offered the same health insurance coverage as opposite-sex spouses—regardless of where you live. As long as you were married in a state that has marriage equality, you can enroll in spousal coverage.
  • You have a right to medically necessary services, as determined by you and your provider (not the insurer), if those services are provided to other patients without regard to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
    • Example: Estrogen for post-menopausal cisgender women AND for transgender women).
  • Colorado prohibits anti-transgender exclusions and clauses in private plans sold in Colorado.
  • All free preventive services offered to cisgender (non-transgender) patients also apply to transgender
  • Hormones and puberty-blockers are covered under Colorado Medicaid.
  • You now have the right to get gender-affirming surgery as part of Medicare.
    • Not all Marketplace plans or private plans cover gender-confirming surgery. Investigate the Evidence or Certificate of Coverage before you purchase a plan.
  • Your marriage in Colorado will be recognized for all Medicaid.
  • You may qualify for Medicaid if your household income is less than 133% Federal Poverty Level, even without being pregnant, married, or under 18 years old.

Hospital Visitation & Representation

  • You can have anyone you like visit you in the hospital or long-term care facility (nursing home), regardless of blood or legal relationship.
    • You can fill out a Hospital Visitation Directive once admitted so as to leave no room for error or miscommunication.
  • Hospitals must apply rules equally to everyone, i.e. opposite-sex and same-sex partner visitation at certain hours.
  • You can appoint anyone to be your Medical Durable Power of Attorney (MDPOA), which is the person who would make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so (see resources below).

Preventive Health Services for Adults

  • Under all Marketplace plans and most private plans, you have access to free preventive services to help you get the treatment you need. Services include:
    • Immunizations
    • Screenings for Depression, Tobacco-Use, Alcohol Misuse, Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, Domestic Violence, and more
    • Annual Well Visits
    • Contraception
    • Womens preventive services (e.g. Pap smear, mammography). This applies to both cisgender and transgender women.

clipboardTips for Finding an LGBT-Friendly Provider (Medical & Mental Healthcare)


If you experience discrimination in health care, file a complaint immediately.

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