In 2003, California passed the Health Care Language Assistance Act, which aimed to reduce health inequities and racial disparities by requiring that health insurance companies provide members with language services and collect data on race, ethnicity, and language. However, there remains variability in data collection and the use of demographic data to evaluate disparities in care. SB 1033 would require that private health care plans utilize standardized best practices for the collection and reporting of demographic data, including sexual orientation and gender identity, and data on community needs, such as housing, nutrition, and other supports.
Approximately 1.6 million adults and 244,000 youth ages 13 to 17 identify as LGBT in California. Williams Institute research shows that LGBT individuals in the state experience health disparities and face barriers in accessing health care compared to heterosexual or cisgender adults, despite having similar rates of health insurance coverage. If passed, this bill will require that the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) establish standardized data categories that would enable plans to identify social needs that have been shown to impact health outcomes for LGBT people in California.
Scholars support the current bill by outlining current research that demonstrates health disparities among LGBT people compared to non-LGBT people in California. They also provide guidance on best practices for collecting data on sexual orientation and gender identity and urge the California legislature and DMHC to ensure that SOGI data are collected and reported using appropriate privacy standards.