Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality www.ahrq.gov
Archival print banner

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: https://info.ahrq.gov. Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to www.ahrq.gov for current information.

  • Publication # 13-RA006

Same-sex couples report more barriers to care and poorer interactions with providers than those in heterosexual marriages

Disparities/Minority Health

Compared to married heterosexual couples, individuals who are part of same-sex couples report more difficulty in seeing specialists and getting medical care when needed, and more frequently experience delays in having required prescriptions filled, according to a new study. James Kirby, Ph.D., of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and Joseph Clift, Ed.D., M.S., P.M.P., of the Health Resources and Services Administration, examined 12 years of data from AHRQ’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. The researchers report that the 696 men and women who belonged to same-sex couples were significantly younger, better educated, and had higher incomes than the 136,676 men and women who were part of different-sex married couples. Both groups were comparable in having a usual source of care and having a routine checkup in the past year.

However, a significantly lower percentage of individuals in same-sex couples reported getting nonurgent care when they wanted it (74.3 percent vs. 83.7 percent) or found it easy to see a specialist (62.2 percent vs. 76.6 percent). A greater percentage of men in same-sex couples received flu shots than did men in different sex couples (42.9 percent vs. 31.4 percent), possibly because of recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for men who have sex with men. A smaller percentage of individuals in same-sex couples reported that their doctor explained health information so it could be understood or that the doctor showed them respect, though these percentages were not significantly different from persons in different-sex married couples. Significantly fewer women in same-sex couples than women in different-sex married couples reported that their doctor spent enough time discussing their health concerns (76.0 percent vs. 86.1 percent).

More details are in "Health care access and perceptions of provider care among individuals in same–sex couples: Findings from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS)," by Drs. Clift and Kirby in the 2012 Special Issue on LGBT Health Research of the Journal of Homosexuality 59(6), pp. 839–850. Reprints (AHRQ Publication No. 13-R006) are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse.

DIL

Page last reviewed March 2013
Internet Citation: Same-sex couples report more barriers to care and poorer interactions with providers than those in heterosexual marriages: Disparities/Minority Health. March 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. https://archive.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/13mar/0313RA28.html

 

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.

 

AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care