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Disparities in Health Care Access and Health Among Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals in California

October 17, 2018

Policy Brief

Authors: Joelle Wolstein, PhD, MPP, MA, Shana Alex Charles, PhD, MPP, Susan H. Babey, PhD, Allison L. Diamant, MD, MSHS

​This policy brief examines differences in health care access, health behaviors, and health outcomes by sexual orientation among California adults. Using data combined data from the 2011 to 2014 California Health Interview Survey, the study finds that although lesbian, gay, and bisexual women and men have similar or better rates of insurance coverage compared to straight women and men, they are more likely to experience delays in getting needed health care. Lesbians, bisexual women, and bisexual men have higher rates of smoking and binge drinking than straight women and men; however, gay men are less likely to consume sugary beverages and to be physically inactive. Lesbians and bisexuals had poorer health status and higher rates of disability than straight adults.

Future research is needed to explain these disparities, as well as to identify health care and structural interventions that will improve access to care and health outcomes for this population.

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