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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

The Results Are In: NC Should Take the Federal Money and Cover More Hard-Working Women and Families

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: February 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm

A recent study by the North Carolina Institute of Medicine confirmed what many Governors, state legislators, advocates, and the public already know: covering more hardworking people through the Medicaid program is not only the right thing to do, it’s a good deal that makes a lot of sense.

I’ll just reiterate the strong findings of the report:

In summary, a decision to participate in Medicaid expansion, as put forth in the [health care] law, would provide insurance coverage to approximately 500,000 North Carolinians; most of whom would remain uninsured without the expansion. Providing health insurance coverage will help people gain access to the care they need, which can help improve health outcomes. Because of the high federal match rate, the offsets, and the new tax revenues, the state would likely experience a net savings of $65.4 million from the Medicaid expansion over the eight-year time period.

There you have it!


Our Check *Was* in the Mail

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: July 27, 2012 at 04:24 pm

Thanks, Obamacare!Remember when I told you about a great provision in the health care law requiring health insurance companies to spend your premium dollars on health care and not administrative costs or profits? My last blog post explains the whole deal.

An estimated 12 million Americans will receive rebates from health insurers totaling over $1 billion. And guess what? I got one! Well, sort of.

My health insurance company is CareFirst BlueChoice; it is the plan I receive as an employee of the National Women’s Law Center. A few weeks ago, I received a notice in the mail that CareFirst did not spend the legally required amount of premium dollars on care.

Check out the notice here. The accompanying letter says, “This letter is to inform you that CareFirst BlueChoice, Inc. will be rebating a portion of your health insurance premiums. This rebate is required by the Affordable Care Act—the health reform law.” [Some lovingly call it ObamaCare] If a health plan spends too much on administrative costs, as CareFirst did, it has to pay a rebate. Maybe next year they will get their act together and just charge lower premiums, which would be good too.


A Check Could be in the Mail for You

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: May 14, 2012 at 10:37 am

It’s Women’s Health Week. Time to Celebrate! Along with all of the other goodies we’ve been talking about endlessly for the last two years, the health care law is giving us another reason to celebrate: cold hard cash.

That’s right, cash money. Or more like a check. Let me explain.

The health care law signed by President Obama in 2010 to overhaul our health care system included a provision to require insurance companies to spend more of our premiums on our care, not on administrative costs or profits. It is called the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) and it is a federal requirement that insurance companies must spend 80-85% of premiums on health care. When I talk about this with women across the country, one of the first things they say is something along the lines of, “It’s about time!” (That that seems a pretty normal requirement and one that should have been in place a long time ago.) Before the health care law, many insurance companies spent excessive amounts of our premium dollars on administrative costs and profits, including executive salaries, overhead, and marketing—and not on our health care.


ObamaCares about Moms!

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: May 13, 2012 at 09:22 am

This blog post is a part of NWLC’s Mother’s Day 2012 blog series. For all our Mother’s Day posts, please click here.

The new health care law does some amazing things for mothers. Before you even become a mom, the health care law will make sure women have affordable health insurance. Once you have that coverage and are thinking about having children, the health care law ensures you have access to preventive services at no additional out of pocket costs to you. These preventive services will provide an opportunity to screen for conditions and prepare yourself for pregnancy. Once you are pregnant—congratulations!—the health care law ensures you will have prenatal and maternity care. (Before the health care law, insurance companies could drop people when they got sick; and most insurance coverage in bought in the individual market did not include maternity care. What a shame!).

The health care law will make sure that, during your pregnancy you can receive the care you need to stay healthy. (In fact, the health care law will require screening for gestational diabetes for high risk mothers.)


How Often Do We Have to Do This? Another Attempt to Take Away Contraception

Posted by Anna Benyo, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: April 30, 2012 at 05:27 pm

Apparently we have to keep fighting for basic health care. On Friday the Colorado state legislature took up a measure that would have a lasting impact on women’s access to health services, such as contraception.

The Colorado Senate Memorial 12-003 calls upon Congress to enact the Respect for the Rights of Conscience Act of 2011. This extreme bill introduced in Congress gives virtually limitless and unprecedented license to any employer or insurance plan, religious or not, to exclude coverage of any health service, no matter how essential, as required by the federal health care law.

In fact, this legislation was recently repackaged as the Blunt Amendment and attached to a routine transportation bill. Fortunately, this extreme measure was voted down by the U.S. Senate. As an aside, one of the Republican Senators who voted for the Blunt Amendment—Senator Murkowski—realized, after the vote, the extreme nature of the Blunt Amendment and now says she regrets her vote.