I'm proud to say I'm a Gay ObamaCare Bear. Thank gawd for the safety and security that guaranteed health insurance coverage finally brings to our Gay community. Last year I wrote about the appalling health disparities of the LGBTQ community, particularly the minorities within our minority community. The ACA is working to end the inequalities of being uninsurable, underinsured, underserved, and outright uninsured. Having some form of health insurance is now the law - and it's working for you and our at-risk community.
November 15th is the start of the second annual ACA enrollment period. It's a great opportunity to get low-cost healthcare insurance if you haven't got any, or a chance to revise your insurance plan option for the upcoming year. You can visit www.healthcare.gov, select your state of residency and get a preview of the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum level plans with possible insurance subsidies to find health insurance you can't afford to be without.
Think Preventative Care, Bear!
Your FREE annual preventative care visit might be all you need if you're in good general health. To maximize it, make sure you schedule the appointment early in the year - or take advantage of it before the policy year runs out. Be EXPLICIT with your doctor that you're there for an Annual Wellness Visit and to explicitly discuss using PREVENTATIVE BILLING CODES for the exam and routine tests! Stay focused on a general checkup and not get into specific chronic health issues: This will help insure you don't end up with unexpected out of pocket expenses. Do note that if your ACA plan has a deductible, these free screenings will NOT apply to it since you don't incur any actual wallet costs. You can print out a copy of the Affordable Care Act's mandated benefits here.
Get Poked! Don't Be A Hairy Typhoid Beary!
I was able to get a comprehensive physical exam any aging adult male should have. Tests included a CBC blood panel, a Fasting Glucose test for diabetes, and Cholesterol screening. But as importantly, I also got Hepatitis C testing, and caught up on ALL my age and risk-appropriate immunizations with absolutely no out of pocket costs. Those free vaccinations included a 3-shot series for Hepatitis A/B, as well as Meningitis, Pneumococcal, Influenza and TDAP - Tetanus/Diphtheria/Whooping Cough. Getting vaccinated isn't just about you: You owe it to your Bear buddies and the broader LGBTQ community to make sure you're defending ALL our well-being. You can find the newest CDC immunization guideline PDF here.
Bears With Boners : Be Honest!
It's critical that that you frankly discuss your sexual history and risk behaviors with your primary physician. If you don't have a Gay or Gay-friendly physician, get a referral to one who is, cuz your well-being may depend on it. Bi and Gay Men-Who-Have-Sex-With-Men (MSM) face unique health issues. And we actually qualify for more extensive HIV / STD testing and vaccination protocols at no extra cost because we are implicitly in a High-Risk group. There may also be Age-appropriate preventative services such as checks for colon cancer (if you're over 50) or a free vaccination for Herpes Zoster/Shingles (if you're over 60).
Even Fit Muscle Bears Need Healthcare Too!
Even if you've got good general health, work out daily and eat a clean healthy diet - being a fitness freak and big and beefy gym rat has it's own set of risks. Weight training and sports injuries happen, and without comprehensive insurance, a torn muscle or ligament could wreak havoc on your finances if you're uninsured. Buff Bears need ObamaCare too!