Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst

Anna is a Senior Health Policy Analyst for Health and Reproductive Rights at the National Women's Law Center where she works to implement health care reform at the state level — with a particular focus on ensuring equitable, affordable access to care. Prior to joining the Center, Anna served as a Policy Analyst at Harbor Health Services, a large network of community health centers headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts and home to the first health center in the country. For several years Anna worked to advance evidence-based practices that reduce the spread of HIV and hepatitis C in New York City and successfully lobbied for increased resources and policy reform. She is a graduate of New York University and later received an interdisciplinary Master's Degree from NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

My Take

“Most New Moms Could Use Help… And Thanks to Obamacare, Help is Available”

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: September 25, 2013 at 10:00 am

A recent NPR blog To Succeed at Breast-feeding, Most Moms Could Use Some Help details problems many new mothers have when initiating breast-feeding. But blog does not mention some exciting news—a new health care benefit that is already helping mothers start and continue breast-feeding. Breast-feeding is good for moms and good for babies, and new moms can get the help they need getting started, thanks to the health care law, also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

The law requires all “new” health plans to cover breast-feeding support and supplies without cost sharing, which means not paying for a co-payment, co-insurance, or deductible.


Dear Fox News, Women Should NOT Pay More for Health Insurance

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: August 27, 2013 at 03:31 pm

Some of the commentators in this news clip make the argument that women should pay more than men for the same health insurance. The argument goes something like this: women need things like mammograms, and pap tests, and their bodies are different, so they should pay more for health insurance.



Does that seem fair?

We did the research and the fact is that women are charged more for health coverage simply because they are women. In states that have not prohibited the practice of “gender rating” the vast majority of plans in the individual market charge women more. In fact, 92%, of best-selling plans in the individual market gender rate—for example, charging 40-year-old women more than 40-year-old men for coverage.


We Have a Decision: West Virginia Governor Will Accept Federal Money to Cover Hard-Working Women and Families

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: May 02, 2013 at 04:22 pm

West Virginians scored a huge win today! WV Governor Earl Ray Tomblin decided to accept federal funds available under the health care law to cover more hardworking women and families through the Medicaid program. After months of activism by fantastic on-the-ground organizations like WVFREE and state advocates, Governor Tomblin made the right call.

Why this decision is so important? Today’s announcement means that:

  • Over 67,000 women in West Virginia could be eligible for coverage.
  • When combined with other reforms in the health care law, this coverage expansion could reduce uninsurance in West Virginia by over 67%.
  • It will bring in $721 million federal dollars, and could save West Virginians over $281 million in uncompensated care costs.

Why Medicaid Expansion is Good for West Virginia


Opposition to Obamacare Thawing, Maine Has a Chance to Cover More People

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: March 13, 2013 at 09:12 am

We continue to watch Governors and state legislators across the country as they make a crucial decision that will have an enormous impact on women and families.

Under the new federal health care law, women and families in Maine who are currently uninsured could get affordable health coverage starting next year. That’s because the law includes money to cover more people through Medicaid. Right now, Maine has an important decision to make—accept federal dollars that have been allocated to cover uninsured individuals through Medicaid or turn down the money and leave them uninsured. If Maine accepts the federal funds to cover more people, not only will it improve women’s health and dramatically reduce the number of uninsured, it will also ensure a smarter use of health care dollars.

A recently released study backs this up! Yesterday researchers from Maine Equal Justice Partners and the Maine Center for Economic Policy released a comprehensive study on this opportunity. Their findings show that accepting federal funds to expand health coverage means thousands of Mainers will receive affordable comprehensive health coverage, and the state will also benefit through a boost to the state economy.


Major Part of Obamacare Has a Chance in Virginia

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: February 26, 2013 at 11:05 am

It’s been an exciting few weeks for advocates who are urging Governors and state legislators to say yes! Last June, the Supreme Court upheld the health care law but let states choose whether or not to take the Affordable Care Act’s funding for covering more people through the Medicaid program. Ever since then, Virginia advocates have had their work cut out for them—making phone calls, knocking on doors, and educating anyone who will listen about the important benefits to the state of Virginia, hospitals and health systems, and to the women and families who will gain the most.

Last weekend, Virginia took a big step forward. The two-year state budget includes a compromise proposal that could lead to Virginia extending coverage to approximately 350,000 Virginians who currently lack health insurance. Under this proposal, a legislative committee will ultimately determine whether the expansion will move forward. Governor McDonnell is currently reviewing this legislation.

What’s at stake by covering more people?

  • Approximately 169,000 Virginian women would gain health insurance coverage
  • Combined with other reforms in the Affordable Care Act, it could reduce the percentage of uninsured women in Virginia from 17 % to 4 %
  • Accepting the money could save Virginia approximately $424 million in uncompensated care costs over the next ten years