Finn Brigham, trainer for the LGBT Task Force's webinar on LGBT cultural competancy
Guest post: Laurel Swerdlow, LGBT Task Force Program Associate, Raising Women’s Voices – NY
With the start of the second open enrollment period just days away on Nov. 16, it is important that Navigator and Certified Application Counselor agencies (CACs) be prepared to offer culturally competent assistance to New Yorkers of all backgrounds and identities. To that end, Health Care For All New York’s (HCFANY) LGBT Task Force hosted a cultural competency training webinar for more than 135 Navigators and CACs from throughout the state.
The featured trainer was Finn Brigham, an active member of the Task Force who is Director of Care Coordination at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. Callen-Lorde is a Manhattan-based agency that provides health care to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and is a designated Navigator agency for NY State of Health enrollments.
Brigham described best practices to ensure cultural competency while assisting LGBT New Yorkers through the insurance enrollment process. He began by explaining the terms included in the “LGBT” acronym and explained the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity. Then he described particular concerns that LGBT applicants may bring to enrollment sessions, and recommended some simple ways to ensure that agencies offer a welcoming environment to LGBT people.
The presentation highlighted the special enrollment challenges facing transgender applicants, whose current gender identity may be different than the one assigned at birth and may not be reflected in official government documents. This past year, at the request of the Task Force, NY State of Health added “help text” to the application question about the individual’s sex, advising that the applicant must list whichever gender is recorded on Social Security records. Brigham noted that some insurance plans do not cover gender transition-related hormones and surgeries, and recommended carefully reviewing plan benefits summaries with transgender applicants.
Want to make sure you are providing culturally competent assistance to LGBT New Yorkers enrolling in health insurance? Click here to listen to a recording of the webinar, and here to view the presentation slides.