My immediate family’s Thanksgiving celebration is full of tradition – maybe a little too full. We always gather at my step-sister’s house, and everybody who attends brings the same dish every year. For example, Stephanie has claimed my mother’s sweet potato recipe for the last 15 years. Maybe more. Brian brings the appetizers, but he is always late. Paula always brings a pecan pie, which looks delicious but I am just too full to eat it by the time we get to dessert.
Our conversation can be a little, um, traditional too. For example, we go around the table and everyone says what they are thankful for. In 2010, after passage of the Affordable Care Act earlier that year, I said I was thankful that my daughter would grow up in a country that provides affordable, high-quality health care to everyone, and that she would never need to worry having health coverage. My daughter said she was thankful for her nightgown. (She was three.)
I will be talking about the Affordable Care Act at Thanksgiving this year, too – even before we say what we are thankful for. I will be making sure that my friends who own their own small business know that they might qualify for tax credits to help them with the cost of buying health insurance. Read more »
As the Affordable Care Act moves closer to full implementation — including the application of new standards for health insurance plans on January 1, 2014 — some critics of the health care law have seized on recent insurance plan notices as evidence that the law won't work. These notices, issued by individual-market insurance plans and sent to their enrollees, inform plan subscribers that their health insurance plan does not meet the standards of the ACA, and they will need to choose a new plan that does meet these requirements. These critics charge that the law does not live up to President Obama’s promise that "if you like your plan, you can keep it." Here are five things to keep in mind as the controversy swirls around you:
New plan requirements improve coverage
Starting January 1, health plans sold on the individual market must cover all essential health benefits — including maternity care, preventive care, mental health treatment and prescription drugs. Today, policies in this market often skimp on these critical services. For example, NWLC's own research demonstrates that only 12 percent of these plans cover maternity care, while coverage for mental health and prescription drugs is also spotty.
Most people don't "keep" their coverage in the individual market
In most states, health plans don't have to renew your policy year after year in the individual market — if you get sick, your plan can kick you out once your 12-month contract ends. And lots of people buy coverage in this market for only a short period of time — leaving the market once they receive an offer of employer-sponsored coverage or qualify for Medicare, perhaps. One estimate is that only 17 percent of subscribers purchase the same policy for two years or longer.
The whole point of the health care law is to reform the individual market
Ok, this is just one of several major goals for the law — but it is right up there with helping people afford coverage and controlling the growth of health care costs.
Everywhere you turn lately you can hear about new opportunities for health coverage under the health care law, sometimes called Obamacare. And, it turns out, people are listening.
Yesterday marked the official launch of the new Health Insurance Marketplaces. People who are uninsured or purchase coverage on the individual market have new options for high quality, affordable health insurance on the Marketplace. The Marketplace allows people to comparison shop to find the plan that best meets their needs and budget.
On the first day for health insurance enrollment, both the federal Marketplace and state-based Marketplaces experienced large amounts of online traffic. Here are just a few examples of yesterday’s high numbers:
Yesterday afternoon, the White House reported over 2.8 million online visitors to the federal Marketplace at Healthcare.gov.
In the first three hours of operation in Colorado, there were over 34,500 visitors to Connect for Health Colorado, the state-based Marketplace.
These numbers will continue to climb as Americans seek information about their new health care options. And, many consumers have already begun enrolling in new, affordable health insurance plans available on the Marketplaces. For example, Kentucky’s Kynect Marketplace reported processing over 1,000 applications for insurance by 9:30am yesterday. Read more »
Today marks the start of the open enrollment period for new health insurance options that are part of the health care law, also known as Obamacare. We’ve waited a long time for this day. The law passed three years ago and the National Women’s Law Center worked hard for the passage so we’re celebrating today as major step forward towards high-quality, affordable health insurance for all.
There’s a lot of confusing information out there, so we wanted to share some key information about what today really means and encourage you to join us in celebration. Read more »
While the rest of us were watching the season premiere of Saturday Night Live this weekend, the House passed a bill that holds women’s health hostage as a bargaining chip in the debate over shutting down the government.
It is such a typical move by the far-right politicians in the House that it almost plays out like a skit on SNL. They have become caricatures of themselves.
Specifically, late Saturday night, the House passed a continuing resolution that would exempt bosses from complying with the ACA’s Women’s Health Amendment if they oppose it for “religious or moral” reasons. This means that bosses could impose their religious beliefs on their employees, or even block their employees’ access to needed women’s health care for vague and undefined “moral” reasons. Female employees and dependents – just like men – are capable of making their own health decisions and must be allowed to do so without interference from their bosses. Read more »
Particularly, she thought it was unfair that men would have to buy a benefit package that will include services they’ll “never” use:
Pediatric Dental and Vision: I think Hasselbeck has a point here. Why should any adult have to get a plan with this service? Let those pesky kids pay for their own darn insurance… oh, wait. This is for adults to use who have dependent children. Well, then Hasselbeck’s point must be that men do not have kids? No, that can’t be right…
The latest strategy to undermine the health care law: scare young women.
That is the strategy used in an ad released yesterday. The ad starts with a young woman walking through a doctor’s office as ominous music is playing in the background. The woman walking with her says “Oh, I see you decided to sign up for Obamacare.” The way she says that, we suspect there is a problem. The doctor visits the exam room and then leaves her alone on an exam table. And we are left waiting and wondering – what is the truth about the coverage she signed up for through Obamacare? Read more »
Today, the Census Bureau released new state by state data on women’s health insurance coverage. The data is clear: all states are not equal. In some states, like Massachusetts, nearly all women have health insurance. But, in other states, like Texas, almost one-third of women are uninsured. Without insurance, women have to worry about where to get the health care they need and also have to consider how a costly health care problem could harm their family’s economic stability.
Below, we’ve ranked the best and worst states for health insurance coverage of women aged 18-64, so you can see the range of health coverage across the states.
First, the five best states for women’s health insurance coverage:
And, the winner is: Massachusetts! Over 96 percent of women have health insurance in the Bay State.
Today, the IRS and Department of Treasury issued final regulations that bring us one step closer to expanding coverage options for millions of uninsured Americans who will start enrolling in new health plans on October 1. These final rules finalizethe health care law’s requirement that individuals carry a minimum level of insurance. This requirement is central to improving women’s access to the health insurance market by making it financially possible for insurers to provide coverage to all who seek it at a reasonable cost.
Unlike today’s market, the 2014 health insurance market will provide comprehensive coverage to women regardless of pre-existing conditions that includes coverage for essential health benefits including maternity coverage – and women won’t be charged more than men for that coverage. In order to make that market a reality, it is important that people don’t wait to get sick to enroll in coverage. Read more »
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. Read more »