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Lisa Codispoti, Senior Counsel

Lisa Codispoti is Senior Counsel with the Health and Reproductive Rights Team, where she advocates on behalf of low-income women and families in the fight to achieve comprehensive, affordable health care. Before joining the Center, she worked with the Service Employees International Union for nearly 10 years; she also worked in private practice in Albany, N.Y., and for the New York State Assembly. She earned her law degree from Albany Law School, a Master of Public Administration from SUNY Albany and a bachelor's degree from SUNY Cortland.

My Take

Women and the Individual Health Insurance Market: It's No Shopper's Paradise

Posted by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Counsel | Posted on: September 25, 2008 at 09:30 pm

by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Advisor
and Brigette Courtot, Policy Analyst
National Women’s Law Center

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

The overwhelming majority of people get their health insurance from an employer or through a public program like Medicare or Medicaid. So it’s not surprising that most people have absolutely no idea how tough it is to buy insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market. And for women –- it is a particularly tough place.   

At the National Women’s Law Center, we just released a report identifying the many obstacles women face in getting affordable comprehensive health coverage in the individual insurance market. The barriers include being rejected for coverage for reasons that are relevant to women, being charged more than men for the exact same coverage, and experiencing great difficulty in finding affordable health coverage that includes comprehensive maternity care.

There are many federal laws that protect women who get their health insurance through their employer.  Those federal protections simply don’t apply when you try to buy coverage in the individual insurance market.

Insurers can reject applicants for a variety of reasons -– many very relevant to women.  For example, a woman can be rejected simply because she had a Caesarean section (in 2005, 30% of all births were by C-section). In nine states and the District of Columbia, it is still legal to be rejected for coverage because you are a survivor of domestic violence.

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Their Glass is Still Half-Empty: More Details on Uninsured Women

Posted by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Counsel | Posted on: September 04, 2008 at 10:05 pm

by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Advisor
and Brigette Courtot, Policy Analyst
National Women’s Law Center

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

Last week we wrote about the Census Bureau’s recent release of 2007 data on health insurance coverage in the United States. On the simplest level, the news looks positive, with fewer uninsured women—and uninsured Americans in general—in 2007 than in 2006. 

But since when was anything about health insurance simple?  The message became more complex when we found that the 2007 decline in uninsurance was only due to an increase in the number of people with public health insurance.  We summed up last week’s blog post discussion on this by warning readers not to be fooled by the seemingly positive news – our fight for progressive health reform is far from over!

Now that we’ve had another week to work with the Census data, we have found even more evidence of women’s need for comprehensive health reform. For certain groups of women, the news on 2007 insurance rates is not even seemingly positive. Things just went from bad to worse. Period. The data shows just who lost out:

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Digging Deeper: The Story Behind the New Uninsurance Numbers

Posted by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Counsel | Posted on: August 28, 2008 at 07:45 pm

by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Advisor
and Brigette Courtot, Policy Analyst
National Women’s Law Center

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

We were so prepared. In the days leading up to Tuesday’s Census Bureau release of 2007 health coverage data, we formatted spreadsheets to analyze the new numbers. We drafted potential language for our press release. We listened to the forecasts of health economists, predicting that the number of uninsured Americans would continue its upward trend this year.

And then we got the data. Surprise! The number of uninsured Americans did not increase, as expected. Instead, there was a modest decline in the uninsured, from 47 million in 2006 to 45.7 million in 2007. Rates of uninsurance decreased for women specifically; in 2007, 281,000 fewer women (ages 18 and older) were uninsured, and the proportion of uninsured women dropped slightly from 15.1 to 14.8 percent. Though women of color are still considerably more likely to lack insurance than their white counterparts, rates of uninsurance went down for women across race categories with one exception – more Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander women were uninsured in 2007 than in 2006. Uninsurance among Hispanic women fell by 2 percentage points – the largest decline of all.

So, what gives?  How can the number of uninsured Americans be going down when we know that a) more and more people are skipping necessary care because they can’t afford it, b) the cost of health insurance premiums is growing much faster than wages, and c) fewer small and medium-sized businesses are offering health coverage to their workers each year?

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Sometimes Numbers Speak Louder than Words in the Case for Health Reform

Posted by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Counsel | Posted on: August 22, 2008 at 03:28 pm

by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Advisor
and 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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WANTED: A Health Care System That Women Can Count On

Posted by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Counsel | Posted on: August 07, 2008 at 07:34 pm

by Lisa Codispoti, Senior Advisor
and 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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