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Brigette Courtot, Senior Health Policy Analyst

Brigette Courtot is the Senior Policy Analyst for Health and Reproductive Rights at the National Women's Law Center, where she focuses on women's access to health coverage, implementation of the federal health reform law, and how various public policies affect women's health outcomes. Prior to joining NWLC, she worked as a Research Associate in the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where she conducted maternal and child health services research with an emphasis on access to care for underserved populations. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and a bachelor's degree from Northwestern University.

My Take

'Insurance Card': Coming Soon to A Theatre Near You?

Posted by Brigette Courtot, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: August 14, 2008 at 08:22 pm

by Brigette Courtot, Senior Policy Analyst
National Women’s Law Center

This post is part of a weekly series on Women and Health Reform.

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Maximum Limits on Lifetime Health Benefits May Provide Minimal Protection

Posted by Brigette Courtot, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: July 31, 2008 at 09:45 pm

by Brigette Courtot, Policy Analyst
National Women’s Law Center

This post is part of a weekly series on Women and Health Reform.

Does your health coverage have a lifetime maximum? Is it adequate? (If you’re already stumped, a lifetime benefit maximum or cap is the maximum amount of money an insurer will pay for healthcare services over the course of the insured person’s lifetime.) Granted, most insured Americans probably haven’t thought too much about this issue. But in 2007, 55 percent of people with job-based coverage had a lifetime limit on health benefits, an increase from 2004. Nearly a quarter of all workers had a lifetime benefit limit of $2 million or less. If $2 million seems like a lot of money, consider these eye-opening estimates of lifetime costs for certain illnesses and injuries:

Chances are you know someone who has suffered from one of these conditions. Maybe you know a family whose members have battled two or more of them. Throw in several years’ worth of more common medical costs — broken bones, rounds of antibiotics, asthma treatments, hearing aids — and it becomes easy to see how a $2 million limit wouldn’t cut it for families that experience major medical problems. Moreover, if health care costs continue to grow by leaps and bounds while lifetime benefit limits remain at levels set in the 1970s, even those with more minor medical costs could find themselves bumping up against lifetime limits.

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Seriously Ill College Students Should Only Have to Worry About Getting Well

Posted by Brigette Courtot, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: July 17, 2008 at 06:52 pm

by Brigette Courtot, Policy Analyst
National Women’s Law Center

This post is part of a weekly series on Women and Health Reform. 

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For Richer, For Poorer, In Sickness, and For Health Insurance

Posted by Brigette Courtot, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: July 03, 2008 at 05:43 pm

by Brigette Courtot, Policy Analyst
National Women’s Law Center

This post is part of a weekly series on Women and Health Reform.

A few weeks ago, I took part in my best friend’s wedding. She was a beautiful bride, and everything went according to plan.  Well, almost everything. 

Several months ago, the bride-to-be left me a voicemail. She was clearly upset. Hundreds of possibilities occurred to me - a major fight over the guest list? Bridesmaid dresses discontinued? I never would have guessed that it had something to do with health coverage. What does health insurance have to do with a wedding?

Here’s the story: my best friend had been working full-time as a teacher’s aide and was covered under her school system’s health plan. But she is studying to be a teacher, and needed to leave the job to fulfill her student teaching requirement. She couldn’t afford her university health plan. She shopped around in the individual insurance market, but the policies were too expensive, or they didn’t cover treatments for the form of arthritis that she was diagnosed with a couple of years ago. She even considered going without any insurance at all, but knew she couldn’t pay out-of-pocket for her arthritis medications and didn’t want to live in constant fear of a catastrophic health event.

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Same Duty, Same Honor, Lower-Quality Care: What Would Molly Pitcher Think?

Posted by Brigette Courtot, Senior Health Policy Analyst | Posted on: June 20, 2008 at 05:02 pm

by Brigette Courtot, Policy Analyst
National Women’s Law Center

This post is part of a weekly series on Women and Health Reform. 

It’s been many moons since my elementary school history lessons, but I still recall learning the story of brave Molly Pitcher, who stepped in to take her husband’s place in battle during the Revolutionary War. Since Molly’s time, millions of women have played an important (though not always acknowledged or appreciated) role in our country’s defense. Women currently account for about 14 percent of our active duty armed forces. They also make up 5 percent of the total veteran population, a figure that is projected to double over the next decade. These female vets—like all those who have honorably served in the U.S. military—are entitled to a comprehensive set of health benefits available through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). But a new report shows that women veterans aren’t getting the level of care that they deserve. In 2006, female vets—when compared to their male counterparts—received lower quality outpatient care in at least a third of the nation’s VHA facilities. [Note: The report’s quality scores are based on a combination of commonly-used technical measures (e.g. Does a patient with diabetes receive a retinal exam during their provider visit? Does a provider discuss smoking cessation with patients who are current smokers?) and VHA patient perceptions of care.] 

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