Last Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in Gilardi v. HHS, one of the 40 plus lawsuits brought by for-profit companies challenging the health care law’s contraceptive coverage requirement. It requires health insurance plans to include coverage of the full range of FDA-approved forms of birth control. The Gilardis, who own Freshway Foods—a fresh produce processor and packer company (think pre-packaged salad mixes and perfectly pre-chopped carrots) —object to providing birth control in their employee health plan. The D.C. Circuit found in their favor, meaning that Freshway Food’s owners can exclude birth control from their employee health plan. The decision therefore denies women covered by Freshway Food’s health plan the ability to make independent decisions about their health and leaves them to pay higher costs for critical preventive care.
But, they’re asking the Supreme Court to review the decision anyway. Why? 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 »
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 Census Bureau released new data on the rates of health insurance coverage in 2012. Overall, the percentage of uninsured Americans decreased from 15.7 percent in 2011 to 15.4 percent in 2012, which represents over 600,000 newly insured Americans.
Rates of health coverage increased slightly or remained steady for women aged 18-64:
The rate of women without health insurance declined slightly, from 19.6 percent in 2011 to 19.2 percent in 2012. But,over 18 million women still remain uninsured in 2012.
Medicaid continued to provide health insurance to about 12 percent of womenin 2011 and 2012.
And, health coverage for young adult women ages 19 to 25 also remained steady, with about 25 percent lacking health coverage in both 2011 and 2012.
On Tuesday, the Census Bureau will release new data on poverty, income, and health insurance in the U.S. in 2013. As we get ready to crunch numbers, we thought it would be helpful to take a deeper look at what these numbers will tell us about health insurance.
Where does this data come from?
Every month, the Census Bureau surveys approximately 50,000 households to estimate the unemployment rate. This is known as the Current Population Survey (CPS). Once a year, they ask additional questions on health coverage and income. This supplement is known as the Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). The ASEC questions regarding health insurance explore whether each member of the respondent household had insurance coverage throughout the previous calendar year, and if so, what kind of coverage. According to the Census Bureau, the ASEC is the most widely used source of data on health insurance coverage in the U.S. Read more »
It’s pretty obvious that lower rates are good news for all New Yorkers, particularly women who have a harder time affording health care and are more likely than men to avoid needed health care services because of cost, but this news should also convince the House to vote down the effort to delay the individual responsibility provision. Read more »
A study published in the journal Women’s Health Issues last week highlighted a problem many women have confronted over the years when getting their birth control: even when you have insurance, the costs for contraception can be unaffordable. The study showed that, in 2010, on average women with private insurance paid $10 for a one-month supply of generic pills, $112 for an IUD, and $116 for an implant. The study also found that costs varied depending on your insurer, with some women having to pay more than $17 a month for generic pills, $305 for an IUD, or $308 for an implant. On top of these high costs, the study found that between 2007 and 2010, insurance companies shifted to women costs for long-acting contraceptives, like IUDs and implants. In 2007, a woman paid 13.8% of the cost of an IUD, whereas in 2010 she paid 17.5%.
If these price tags have you confused, there is hope. As I’ve mentioned on this blog before, the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as “Obamacare,” contains a provision that requires health insurers to provide coverage of the full-range of FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing. Read more »
Oh no he didn’t! Virginia Governor McDonnell Monday night added a ban on insurance coverage of abortion to a health care bill passed by the Virginia legislature. The underlying bill was meant to bring the state into compliance with the federal health care law – in other words, to help ensure affordable and comprehensive coverage for people, not take benefits away. But that’s exactly what Governor McDonnell’s amendment would do. And he’s not the only one.
Abortion insurance coverage bans have been introduced so far this year in at least 10 states. Some of these states are already among the 21 states that have such bans. But this year abortion opponents in those states want to prohibit even more women from obtaining abortion insurance coverage. Like Alabama, where a bill has been introduced to expand their exchange ban to all private plans and to take coverage away from survivors of rape and incest. Read more »
This weekend, the Washington Post published an article describing how the breast pump industry is faring now that the health care law requires health insurance coverage of such pumps. The article quoted our very own Judy Waxman and yours truly. As expected, there were many comments from readers vehemently disagreeing with the premise of covering breast pumps. The gist of the complaint is: “why should I pay for other peoples’ breast pumps. Why do women get these things for free?”
My initial response to these complaints is – as I have explained time and again – women are not getting their birth control or pumps for “free.” They are paying for it when they pay for health insurance, either by working for it and having it included as part of the employee’s benefit package (and likely still paying part of the premium) or by paying for it directly on the individual market. So this stuff isn’t “free,” the woman IS paying for it. Do you call the preventive care visits that now don’t have a no co-pay as “free?” No, it is not free. You pay premiums to your health insurance company so that they cover these medical care costs when you need such care. Read more »
Have you ever tried to compare health plans? It isn’t easy. Insurance companies design brochures to sell their plans. They have pictures of people holding hands, pushing a child on a swing, smiling in the doctor’s office and just being happy. They highlight everything that is great about the plan and, by the time you get to the chart summarizing the benefits, you would think this is the best insurance plan ever.
Then you look at another plan’s brochure that also makes the plan seem like the best insurance plan ever. But you try to compare the benefits and you aren’t really sure what you are comparing. The brochures use different terms and different formats. You can’t find a description of maternity coverage. You are trying to figure out how all the dollars and percentages add up to actual costs.
Starting today, things are different. That is because plans now have to provide all applicants and enrollees a standard Summary of Benefits and Coverage (called the SBC for short) and a uniform glossary. The Summary is simple to read, short, and provides a standard chart of benefits and coverage examples that every plan must use. The Glossary provides standard definitions of important health insurance terms that impact your coverage. Read more »