LGBT+ People’s Health Status and Access to Care

Key Findings

The share of people in the United States who identify as LGBT+ has increased substantially in recent years, yet health disparities and health access-related challenges persist across multiple dimensions. While in some areas, the health experiences of LGBT+ people mirror those of their non-LGBT+ counterparts, studies have found that this population experiences certain challenges at higher rates. Understanding the health care needs and experiences of LGBT+ people, and where they differ from those who are not LGBT+, is therefore important for addressing barriers and facilitating access to care and coverage. This report, based on a nationally representative 2022 KFF survey, provides an analysis of the health experiences of self-identified LGBT+ adults in the U.S. compared to their non-LGBT+ counterparts. Key findings include:

Demographics, Coverage and Health Status

  • The demographics of the LGBT+ adult population were similar to non-LGBT+ adults with respect to gender, race/ethnicity, urbanicity, and working status, but a significantly greater share were younger.1
  • Despite being a younger population, LGBT+ individuals were more likely to report being in fair or poor health and were managing chronic conditions and living with disabilities at higher rates than non-LGBT+ people.
  • LGBT+ people were less likely be privately insured and more likely to have Medicaid coverage than their non-LGBT+ counterparts, with similar shares uninsured.

Access to and Use of Care

  • LGBT+ people reported lower rates of having a usual source of care than their non-LGBT+ counterparts but reported wider use of telehealth visits.
  • The large majority of LGBT+ people saw a health care provider in the past two years, but a smaller share had a recent check-up or well-woman visit. The share in both cases is similar to those among non-LGBT+ people. Those who were uninsured were less likely than those with coverage to have seen a provider or had a check-up.
  • Uptake of health services differs by LGBT+ status in some cases. For example, LGBT+ people reported higher testing rates for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV, but lower uptake of pap smears. In addition, larger shares of LGBT+ people reported regularly taking prescription medications than non-LGBT+ people, despite being a younger population overall.
  • LGBT+ people reported needing mental health services over the past two years at much higher rates than non-LGBT+ people. Moreover, not all those who said they needed mental health services received them.
  • LGBT+ people, like non-LGBT+ people, commonly reported problems with health care costs impacting their ability to pay for basic necessities such as food, heat, and housing, among other challenges.
  • The majority of LGBT+ people assigned female at birth have used contraception at some point in their lifetime (70%) and over half do so for a reason other than preventing pregnancy. They were less likely than non-LGBT+ people to say they have ever been pregnant (40% compared to 70%).

Provider Interactions

  • LGBT+ people reported higher rates of discrimination during a health care visit compared to non-LGBT+ people.
  • LGBT+ people were also more likely to report a range of recent negative provider experiences, including having had a provider who did not believe they were telling the truth or suggested they were to blame for a health problem, among others. These experiences were most common among LGBT+ people who were women, younger, had low incomes, and/or reported a disability or chronic disease.


Issue Brief

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