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Survivors of Domestic Violence Gain Access to Health Insurance Tax Credits

Posted by Dania Palanker, Senior Counsel | Posted on: March 26, 2014 at 03:28 pm

Today, the Administration took important steps to ensure that survivors of domestic violence can access affordable health care. Many survivors of domestic violence have been unable to access the health insurance subsidies because they file separate tax returns from their abusive spouse. As of today, these individuals have access to a special enrollment period until May 31 to enroll in coverage and access the health insurance subsidies [PDF].

There is still more to be done. Women in other complicated circumstances are still unable to access the health insurance subsidies. For example, a woman who was abandoned and has no contact with her spouse will not be able to file a joint tax return. Some married couples have been separated for years without any formal legal separation or divorce and may no longer be in contact. Earlier this week, the National Women’s Law Center sent a letter signed by 49 organizations asking for survivors of domestic violence, abandoned spouses and individuals in other complicated circumstances to have access to the health insurance subsidies.  

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Enroll By March 31: It's a Slam Dunk

Posted by Dania Palanker, Senior Counsel | Posted on: March 26, 2014 at 02:47 pm

I used to fill out a March Madness bracket as part of the office pool. I had no idea what I was doing. The first year, I had to ask my office mate what the numbers on the bracket meant. I took a chance though. I guessed what would happen. I always lost my dollar.

There are certain things we shouldn’t leave to chance. That includes our health. Guessing as to whether we will need health insurance means taking a chance on our health and our economic stability. If you guess that you don’t need health insurance, then what happens if you get in an accident on the basketball court? A recent study found that, in 2012:

  • Over 8,000 people were hospitalized because of basketball injuries
  • Over half a million people were treated in the emergency room due to basketball injuries.
  • The average medical costs of treating a leg fracture, one of the most common injuries on the basketball court, are about $3,400. The average costs for an arm fracture are over $7,500.
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White House: Raising the Minimum Wage and Tipped Minimum Wage Helps Close Wage Gap, Reduces Poverty

Posted by Katherine Gallagher Robbins, Senior Policy Analyst | Posted on: March 26, 2014 at 11:41 am

A new report  issued by the White House this morning provides more compelling evidence that raising the minimum wage is critical for advancing fair pay and economic security for women. The report evaluates the impact of the Fair Minimum Wage Act proposed by Senator Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Miller (D-CA) and, like the NWLC analysis of the proposal, finds that women would especially benefit from raising the minimum wage, now just $7.25 an hour, to $10.10 per hour, increasing the tipped minimum cash wage – now just $2.13 an hour – to 70 percent of the minimum wage, and indexing these wages for inflation.

Here are some key findings from the report:

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Alert the Media: Women Play Basketball Too

It’s March Madness time, but if you only read the papers, you wouldn’t know that women are even playing basketball. Last weekend when I was on vacation, I picked up a USA Today and in the entire sports section, there was not one mention of any women’s games. It’s as though the women’s tournament doesn’t exist. The NYT Public Editor’s Journal blog recently bemoaned the lack of coverage of the women’s tournament as well. In general, women receive only about 6-8% of the total newspaper sports coverage. Coverage on TV is also far from equal, but I suppose we should be grateful that ESPN is at least broadcasting most games in the women’s tournament.

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There’s No “Magic” Solution to Bullying and Harassment, But the Safe Schools Improvement Act is an Important Start

Posted by Stephanie Berger, Fellow | Posted on: March 25, 2014 at 02:38 pm

“My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” is a cartoon show that has captured the imaginations of many, with a huge fan base of kids and adults alike. The lessons about kindness relayed in that show should be reinforced by the adults in children’s lives, particularly by those who teach children in our schools. Yet that is not always the case, as 9-year-old North Carolina student Grayson Bruce recently learned. When Grayson was bullied at school for wearing a “girlie” My Little Pony backpack, his school’s administrators told him the solution was simple: Stop bringing the backpack, which was “triggering” the bullying. In other words, he was to blame, not the kids who tormented him for being different from a stereotypical boy.

Grayson’s outraged mother launched a Facebook page in protest, and soon attracted over 700,000 fans. When school officials heard the outcry, they met with Grayson’s parents and reversed their decision. “Every situation with young children is a teachable moment and we will use this example in our efforts to address a wider issue of bullying. The Bruce family has committed to working with us to improve and enhance our anti-bullying programs,” administrators have since stated.

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A Snapshot of Enrollment: Our Experience in Virginia

Posted by | Posted on: March 25, 2014 at 01:46 pm

On most days, we’re in our office working on health policy – crunching numbers, reading reports, writing about new policy proposals – but one day a week for the past three months, we’ve been in the field working with northern Virginians who want to enroll in health insurance. As Certified Application Counselors, we work with individuals and families to apply online, evaluate their options for health coverage, and then enroll in the plan that fits their needs and budget.

HHS announced last week that 5 million Americans have signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with nearly 103,000 in Virginia [PDF]. We’ve only worked with a small fraction of the new enrollees, but we’ve seen how eager people are to learn about the financial help that is available and evaluate their options for insurance.

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7 Days, 7 Reasons: Why You Should Sign Up For Affordable Health Coverage

Posted by Danielle Garrett, Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: March 24, 2014 at 03:52 pm

This is the last week of open enrollment for the new healthcare marketplaces. That means you only have 7 days to sign up for an affordable health plan and #getcovered. So I suggest heading over to right now, before it’s too late. But if you need more convincing, I’ve got 7 reasons why you should sign up for affordable health coverage before the March 31st deadline.

  1. It’s cheap: Duke may have lost, messing up everyone’s bracket, but with subsidies available to help you purchase coverage, you can afford to buy health insurance AND pay into your office March Madness pool. Seriously. 6 out of 10 Americans can get coverage for less than $100 a month.
  2. You’ll Get Preventive Services without Cost Sharing: Admit it, you love getting things you don’t have to pay extra for. Gift bags at the makeup counter, samples at Costco, free shipping from Amazon… And it’s even better when it’s something you actually need.  If you sign up for coverage you’ll be able to get important services like well women visits, pap smears, STD screenings, and contraception with no out-of-pocket costs.
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Tax Day Cometh - And That Can Mean Help for Millions of Families

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: March 24, 2014 at 11:28 am

As the April 15 tax filing deadline approaches, NWLC and its partners want you to know about federal and state tax credits for which working families may be eligible -- and how to get help filing tax returns.

Many families are still struggling to recover from the recession, and keeping up with their bills can be a challenge. So it’s important now, especially for families with children, to claim federal and state tax credits that can to help them make ends meet.  To do that, families must file tax returns.

Families may be eligible for:   

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