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State Advocates’ Agenda for Private Health Insurance in 2015

Cross-posted from FamiliesUSA — posted by Cheryl Fish-Parcham and Claire McAndrew

Around the country, health care advocates are developing advocacy agendas to ensure that private health insurance plans meet consumers’ needs. From addressing high costs for consumers to strengthening provider networks to improving prescription drug formularies, advocates have a lot of work planned this year to improve private insurance. 

Here, we list some of the top private insurance issues that are on advocates’ 2015 agendas, along with best practices and resources that advocates shared with their peers at our Health Action conferenceRead more »

Expanding Preventive Services in FY2016

Yesterday, the President released his budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016. The budget maintains the President’s commitment to fully implementing the Affordable Care Act and takes other steps to protect women’s access to health care. The budget proposes requiring states to cover preventive services without cost-sharing in traditional Medicaid – a major step towards increasing access to the preventive services that women need to live longer lives and stay healthy.

The proposal to expand preventive services coverage to Medicaid includes eight women’s preventive services. These services were developed by the Institute of Medicine and endorsed by the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA). They include: (1) Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling; (2) Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence; (3) Screening for gestational diabetes; (4) DNA testing for high-risk strains of HPV; (5) Counseling regarding sexually transmitted infections, including HIV; (6) Screening for HIV; (7) Contraceptive methods and counseling; and (8) Well woman visits. Thanks to the ACA, most women already have access to these services without cost-sharing, including women in private plans and women enrolled in expanded Medicaid coverage. Read more »

Save American Workers from H.R. 30

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will be voting on H.R. 30, a bill that would change the Affordable Care Act’s definition of full-time work so that employers only have to offer health insurance to employees who regularly work 40 or more hours a week. Without this change, employers must offer coverage to employees who regularly work 30 or more hours a week.

These are four reasons H.R. 30 is bad for American women, American workers and American families. Read more »

5 Major Changes for Women’s Health Coverage in 2014

In the past year, we saw significant changes for women’s access to health coverage. In the first year of the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), millions of Americans newly enrolled in affordable, comprehensive health insurance. Women make up more than 50 percent of enrollees on the new health insurance Marketplaces, which is no surprise given that the ACA protects women from discriminatory health insurance practices, makes health coverage more affordable and easier to obtain, and improves access to many of the health services women need.

Here are just a few of the major changes for women’s health insurance coverage this year: Read more »

Transgender Health Care Needs Can't Be Ignored

A recent study on pregnancy in transgender men who had transitioned from female to male highlights the significant problems transgender people experience in obtaining appropriate and culturally competent health care. Many patients had to deal with rude or inappropriate treatment, ranging from improper pronoun use to outright refusals to provide care. One patient said that he was reported to protective services because, “A tranny had a baby.” 

Problems with transgender health care, however, aren’t limited to pregnancy. Health care providers often lack training and knowledge in how to treat transgender people and insurance companies refuse to pay for needed services. For example, health insurance companies refuse to pay for basic preventive services, like cervical cancer screenings for transgender men and prostate cancer screenings for transgender women. Read more »

Five Things to Remember During Open Enrollment this Year

Open enrollment for health coverage on the Health Insurance Marketplaces begins this weekend. Open enrollment is an annual opportunity for women to compare their insurance options and, depending on their circumstances, renew with their current plan, enroll in a new plan, or apply for Marketplace coverage for the first time. In 2014, more than 4 million women enrolled in coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces. This year, many more women and their families are likely to shop for coverage and select a new health plan.

As women consider their options during open enrollment, here are five things to keep in mind: Read more »

Unexpected News from the Supreme Court Won’t Stop Health Care Enrollment

With eight days to go before health plan enrollment begins for 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States announced today that it will hear King v. Burwell in the Court’s next term. This case challenges the availability of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions for people who sign up for health insurance through the federal Marketplace. Thirty-four states rely on the federal government to manage the health insurance marketplaces for their residents. This means that if the Court were to overturn the King decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, millions of women and their families would lose premium subsidies, and therefore access to affordable health insurance. Read more »

Governors: Get Your State Off This List

This week’s annual release of Census Bureau insurance data tells us that, once again, all states are not equal. Over 90 percent of women aged 18 to 64 in states like Massachusetts and Minnesota are insured. But, again this year, Texas leads the nation in the proportion of women without health insurance, with nearly one-third of women going without health coverage.

Here is the sad list of the worst states for women’s health insurance coverage: Read more »

New Health Insurance Data: A Revealing Look at Coverage Before The ACA

Today, the Census Bureau released new data about the number of Americans with health insurance. The Current Population Survey (CPS) offers a revealing look at Americans’ health coverage in 2013. The data does not yet reflect the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but provides a baseline to understand who had coverage and from where prior to full ACA implementation, setting us up for some interesting analysis next year.

In brief, too many women remained uninsured in 2013. Overall, 14 percent of women and girls lack health insurance coverage. For adult women 18 to 64 the proportion is even higher; 17 percent of women went without health insurance in 2013. Read more »

National Breastfeeding Month: Celebrating Moms, Babies, and the Affordable Care Act

It’s no accident that the US Breastfeeding Committee (“USBC”) chose August as National Breastfeeding Month. After all, it’s the most popular month to be born in the United States. This year the USBC kicked off #NBM14 by inviting Americans to share in #SixWords what breastfeeding means to them.

The facts are clear. Breastfeeding means: Read more »