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Overall, Employment News Is Less Bad – But Not for Women Who Head Families and the Long-Term Unemployed

Posted by Valerie Norton, Public Policy Fellow | Posted on: August 07, 2009 at 06:58 pm

by Valerie Norton, Public Policy Fellow,
and Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security 
National Women's Law Center 

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Nowhere to Turn: Turning 61 Without Insurance

Posted by Golda Philip, Health Fellow | Posted on: August 07, 2009 at 06:00 pm

by Golda Philip, Health Fellow, 
National Women's Law Center 

My mom turns 61 this October without health insurance.  She has been uninsured for the past 2 years.  A combination of personal and medical reasons forced her into early retirement.  The below is a look into her journey to find health insurance coverage—a journey that led to her a disturbing realization: our current health care system doesn’t provide her with any affordable options for comprehensive, quality, affordable health insurance coverage.

Medicare, Medicaid.  Being 61, my mom has 4 years to go until she qualifies for Medicare.  Medicaid, the joint federal-state program that provides health insurance coverage to certain categories of low-income individuals, also isn’t an option.  To qualify for California’s version of Medicaid (called Medi-Cal), you need to meet both income eligibility standards AND what’s called “categorical eligibility.”  This means to qualify for the program, my mom would have to fit into one of the following categories:  65 or older, blind, disabled, under 21, pregnant, a recipient of various forms of state assistance, living in a skilled nursing home, a refugee, or a parent of a qualifying child under 21.  My mom doesn’t fit into any of these categories. 

Individual health insurance market.  We here at the National Women’s Law Center have talked a lot about the individual health insurance market.  My mom tried her luck with this option as well, and after searching and searching, she found an insurance company that would cover her.  For almost half a year, she paid almost $400 a month for her premium.  She soon got a letter in the mail from her insurer, informing her that her coverage was being rescinded because she had a pre-existing condition.  My mom has diabetes, but with regular exercise and diet, she has for years been able to control the condition with only minimal medication.  The insurers didn’t seem concerned, however, when my mom’s doctor wrote them telling them as much. As long as she had diabetes, they wouldn’t cover her.

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Attention Young Adults: When it Comes to Health Insurance, You Get What You Pay For!

Posted by NWLC, Intern | Posted on: August 07, 2009 at 01:17 pm

by Swathi Bojedla, Intern, 
National Women's Law Center

It’s a familiar story. When I was a freshman in college, my roommate got sick. University Health Services couldn’t treat her, so they sent her in an ambulance to the nearest hospital. She came back the next day without a diagnosis but with a $1,000 bill. She had health insurance, but because she was covered under her mother’s high deductible plan, her coverage had not yet kicked in to help her cover the cost of her trip to the hospital. My roommate was forced to find a way to come up with the money on her own.

Medical debt is not an experience unique to my roommate. Twenty percent of all young adults are currently paying off medical expenses . But it’s not just those who are uninsured who are at risk for financial troubles—indeed, my roommate was covered under her mother’s policy. Unfortunately, many young adults are underinsured, meaning that their policy simply does not provide them with enough coverage to protect them financially. Insurance plans that are specifically tailored to young adults often have low premiums but high “deductibles”, the threshold after which the insurance company starts picking up the tab. For example, in Massachusetts, where individuals must have health insurance unless it is deemed unaffordable, the state offers a series of Young Adult Plans, or YAPs. The most affordable plan has a monthly premium of $142. The caveat is that it also has a deductible of $2,000 and a co-insurance rate of 20%. This means that a young woman must pay $2,000 in medical costs before her insurance even kicks in! Indeed, once that threshold is reached, she will still be required to pay 20% of any additional costs, until she reaches $5,000 in out of pocket expenses.

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It's Official: Women (Especially Young Women) Do More Unpaid Housework than Men

Posted by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security | Posted on: August 06, 2009 at 08:52 pm

by Joan Entmacher, Vice President for Family Economic Security,
National Women's Law Center

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Center Applauds Senate’s Vote to Confirm Sotomayor as ‘Defining Moment’

Posted by | Posted on: August 06, 2009 at 06:21 pm

56931[1] The U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Associate Justice on the Supreme Court today. A statement from Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women’s Law Center, follows:

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Senate Set to Vote on Judge Sotomayor Today

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: August 06, 2009 at 02:55 pm

by Amy Matsui, Senior Counsel,  
National Women's Law Center 

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

Over the past two days, Senators have been debating the nomination of Judge Sotomayor. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the nomination later today, taking this historic vote right before Senators leave for the August recess.

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A Big Step for LGBT Employment Rights – ENDA Introduced in Senate

Posted by Robin Reed, Director of Online Communications | Posted on: August 06, 2009 at 02:19 pm

by Robin Reed, Online Outreach Manager, 
National Women’s Law Center 

Depressing as it is, in 29 states, it’s still legal for lesbian, gay, and bisexual people to be fired because of their sexual orientation. And in 38 states, it’s legal to fire an employee for being transgender. (Here’s a map, courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign.)

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Senator Bond To Vote For Judge Sotomayor

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: August 05, 2009 at 03:15 pm

by Amy Matsui, Senior Counsel, 
National Women's Law Center 

This post is part of a series about the nomination of Judge Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.

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