Nearly one in four gay and lesbian adults in the US lack health insurance and are nearly twice as likely as their heterosexual counterparts to have no health insurance coverage.

According to a national survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 22 percent of gay and lesbian survey respondents reported having no health insurance, compared to only 12 percent of heterosexual adults in the survey.

The new nationwide survey of 2,710 US adults, (ages 18 and over), of whom 343 self identified as gay or lesbian (which includes an oversample of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults), was conducted online between April 7 and 15, 2008, by Harris Interactive, a global market research and consulting firm, in conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc, a strategic public relations and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the LGBT market.

“We know the problem of the uninsured has reached crisis proportions in this country and, unfortunately, this survey shows that the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community is today at greater risk,” Peter Francel, CEBS, Head of Sales-Product Group for Aetna.

“What LGBT households and all Americans deserve and need is affordable access to quality health care that results in positive outcomes and facilitates prevention, wellness and chronic care coordination.”

When asked about factors that influence their likelihood to consider specific health insurers, almost the same number of gay and lesbian adults said that it was important to them that the health insurance company provide domestic partner health coverage for companies to whom they supply health insurance (85%) and to their own employees (84%).

Also, 79 percent of gay and lesbian adults reported that seeing a print advertisement for a health insurance company that provides information about insurance products and speaks to gay persons with images of gay and lesbian people would be an important factor on their likelihood of considering the company’s health insurance products.

Assuming factors such as price, quality, and convenience were not considerations, nearly 8 out of 10 (78 percent) gay and lesbian respondents said they would be likely to consider an insurance provider or plan that was marketing to the GLBT community and 67 percent said they would be likely to consider a health insurer if they knew that the agent selling the health insurance plan also was openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

“Studies consistently show that gay and lesbian consumers are far more likely to focus their spending on companies that sensitively and specifically reach out to them,” said Colleen Dermody, Vice President of Witeck-Combs Communications.

“LGBT consumers place a high value on brands, including health insurance companies, that earn and grow respect within the community. LGBT consumers are among the most motivated to ‘vote’ with their dollars and to seek out brands they believe to be very friendly and supportive of the GLBT community.”

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