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Am J Public Health. 2012 Feb;102(2):285-91. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300382. Epub 2011 Dec 15.

Effect of same-sex marriage laws on health care use and expenditures in sexual minority men: a quasi-natural experiment.

Author information

1
Center for the Study of Social Inequalities in Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 722 W 168 St, New York, NY 10032, USA. mlh2101@columbia.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

We sought to determine whether health care use and expenditures among gay and bisexual men were reduced following the enactment of same-sex marriage laws in Massachusetts in 2003.

METHODS:

We used quasi-experimental, prospective data from 1211 sexual minority male patients in a community-based health center in Massachusetts.

RESULTS:

In the 12 months after the legalization of same-sex marriage, sexual minority men had a statistically significant decrease in medical care visits (mean = 5.00 vs mean = 4.67; P = .05; Cohen's d = 0.17), mental health care visits (mean = 24.72 vs mean = 22.20; P = .03; Cohen's d = 0.35), and mental health care costs (mean = $2442.28 vs mean = $2137.38; P = .01; Cohen's d = 0.41), compared with the 12 months before the law change. These effects were not modified by partnership status, indicating that the health effect of same-sex marriage laws was similar for partnered and nonpartnered men.

CONCLUSIONS:

Policies that confer protections to same-sex couples may be effective in reducing health care use and costs among sexual minority men.

PMID:
22390442
PMCID:
PMC3484969
DOI:
10.2105/AJPH.2011.300382
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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