EQCA
Equality California
Bill to Include Voluntary Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Questions on Insurance Affordability Forms Advances to Governor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 13, 2013

CONTACT: Jesse Melgar
PHONE: 323-848-9801 ext. 207 EMAIL: jesse@eqca.org

Bill to Include Voluntary Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Questions on Insurance Affordability Forms Advances to Governor

(Sacramento) Assembly Bill 1208, authored by Assemblymember Dr. Richard Pan, and sponsored by Equality California, passed both houses of the legislature last week, gaining bipartisan support along the way. The bill will provide valuable public health data by adding voluntary questions about sexual orientation and gender identity to the application Californian’s complete for insurance affordability forms. The bill now proceeds to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.  

“To begin eliminating health disparities in the LGBT community, we must first be counted,” said John O’Connor, EQCA executive director. “When it comes to dispersing millions and millions of public health dollars, our community is often ignored due to a lack of data. We urge Governor Brown to sign this common sense piece of legislation that will help reduce health inequality and improve access by providing a better snapshot of who we are and what health challenges confront our community.”

AB 1208 will help California lead the way in answering the national call for more information on disparities in access to health care for the LGBT community.  By including optional questions on the standardized application Californians complete for insurance affordability programs regarding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, new data will be collected that can help guide efforts to increase health care equality in California and nationally. This bill will also help reduce health disparities by allowing better tracking of populations who are not enrolling in subsidized and low-cost programs and targeting outreach and enrollment to them. If signed by the Governor, the bill will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

"As a physician, health services researcher, and advocate for LGBT rights, I have striven to eliminate health disparities and expand access to health care,” said Dr. Pan. “I urge the Governor to sign AB1208 so California will have the data needed to inform efforts to improve access and assure equality in health care for the LGBT community."

EQCA will join Assemblymember Pan on Wednesday, September 18 at a press conference taking place at the State Capitol in room 317 at 11:00 a.m., where health advocates will urge the Governor to sign AB 1208. For more information on the press conference, please contact Brian O’Hara at (916)319-2009.

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 90 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org