Masters Thesis

Barriers to health care for individuals in same-sex relationships

The purpose of this study is to identify barriers to health care for individuals in same-sex relationships, draw public attention to the inequalities individuals in same-sex relationships face and offer recommendations to eliminate them. The study was non-experimental and used a qualitative approach through content analysis. Barriers to health care identified during the research process include access, marital status, influenced health endangering behaviors, discrimination, law, social barriers and social roles. Same-sex couple’s inability to marry is a factor involved in most of the barriers to health care. When individuals are not allowed to marry it limits a person’s ability to access a spouse’s employer provided health insurance plan. It may also drive individuals into practicing health endangering behaviors. Same-sex couples and individuals in the LGBT community are facing inequality and discrimination due to societal stigma and much more. Barriers to health care should not be another problem added to the issues this community already faces. After discovering the barriers to health care the researcher offered 4 recommendations to help solve the issues. The first recommendation is to create a policy legalizing marriage for same-sex couples. This will eliminate a barrier by allowing an individual to access their spouse's employer-provided health insurance. The second recommendation is for HRC and CHA to join forces. These are both very powerful organizations both having strong followings. If they join forces they can work together to develop a policy to cause a shift in hospital practices. This will help reduce the number of members of the LGBT community who are afraid of accessing medical services due to reasons related to medical staff and policies. The 3rd recommendation is to implement a zero-tolerance law. This will help eliminate social barriers and those related to discrimination. If people know they will be held responsible for discriminating they may be less likely to practice the behavior. The final recommendation is to adopt New Hampshire’s Marriage Policy. This will help eliminate barriers related to marital status.

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