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Need new health insurance NOW?

If you experience certain life changes, you don’t have to wait for Open Enrollment in November to enroll in affordable health coverage on healthcare.gov or your state’s marketplace. You have 60 days after the following events to apply for a Special Enrollment Period and enroll:

• Moving to a new zip code or county
• Getting married or divorced
• Having a baby, adopting or becoming a foster parent
• Becoming a U.S. citizen or getting a green card

You have 60 days before or after the following to enroll: 

• Losing your health insurance from your job
• Turning 26 and aging off your parent’s health plan

And if you are experiencing domestic violence and want to apply for your own health plan, you can do so at any time.

Learn more about Special Enrollment Periods at healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596.

 

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« Last-minute push for sign-ups by Feb. 15 | Main | Raising Women’s Voices at the Families USA national conference! »
Thursday
Jan292015

Enrollments are up and, once again, women lead the way!

  

Once again, women are leading the way as enrollments in marketplace health plans rise. During the first two months of the 2015 open enrollment period (Nov. 15 to Jan. 15), more than half of enrollees were women -- 55 percent in states using the federally-facilitated marketplace (www.healthcare.gov) and 53 percent in states with their own marketplaces, according to a new HHS report.


Thus far, 9.5 million Americans have selected marketplace plans for 2015, including 4.5 million renewals.  A surge in enrollments is once again expected as the February 15 deadline approaches.  At this pace, 2015 will exceed last year’s enrollment numbers and further drive down the uninsured rate in the U.S. from a high of 18% in 2013 to below 13%, as tracked by Gallup.

The vast majority of enrollees, 87 percent, will receive much needed financial assistance to be able to afford their health coverage.  Preliminary data indicate that more enrollees are choosing mid-tier Silver plans over the more costly Gold and Platinum plans this year.

As primary decision-makers and consumers of health care services, women are crucial to the success of the ACA and the ACA is crucial to the health of women.  Women make approximately 80 percent of health care decisions for their families.  We are more likely to be care givers when a family member falls ill.  Women also utilize health care services more than men, in part due to our reproductive health needs.  Fifty-seven percent of expenses at doctors’ offices are incurred by women (Source: U.S. Department of Labor).


Health Reform 2.0 – What is it?


Last week Raising Women's Voices staff members Kyle Marie Stock (left in photo) and Cecilia Saenz Becerra (right in photo) attended the 2015 Health Action pre-conference in Washington, D.C.  The Health Action conference and the pre-meeting were organized by Families USA, which is a national non-profit working to achieve high quality, comprehensive, and affordable health care for all Americans.  At the pre-conference, Cecilia and Kyle got at sneak peek at Families USA's major initiative for the next phase of health reform.

This new initiative, Health Reform 2.0, is a call to action and road map for reforming our health care system that has the following four goals:  
  1. Securing health coverage for all;
  2. Ensuring that health coverage means access to needed care;
  3. Transforming our health care system to provide care that is appropriate, high-quality, equitable, and patient-centered; and
  4. Reducing health care costs and making care more affordable.
The Raising Women’s Voices community is well aware that the passage of the Affordable Care Act brought many important improvements to health coverage and access for women and LGBT people.  From prohibiting pre-existing condition exclusions to requiring no cost-sharing for preventive services, the ACA is truly a historic achievement.  Raising Women’s Voices is proud of the great strides that we have made together. 

However, we also know that additional changes are needed to ensure that health coverage and meaningful access to care become a reality for all of us.  Health Reform 2.0 includes advocacy for increased access to health coverage.  For RWV, that not only means continuing the fight to close the coverage gap in the states that are yet to expand Medicaid, but also working toward coverage for undocumented immigrants.  It also means that we will work to enact policies that sustain and improve coverage for children and make it easier for formerly-incarcerated women to get or regain health coverage.

Health Reform 2.0 aims to ensure that once we have coverage we will have access to needed care.  This is particularly important for women, who need access to reproductive health care as we see continued attacks on access to services like contraception and abortion.  It is also important for LGBT communities to have benefit packages that include transgender related care and plan networks that include providers who can attend to their health care needs.  As we achieve our goal of increasing coverage options for immigrants, it will also become more important than ever that health care providers are able to deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate care.

RWV also knows that transforming our health care system is necessary to making sure that the care we get is high quality and equitable, especially for communities of color that historically have been left out from our health care system.  Reducing health care costs and making care more affordable is already emerging as a major challenge for some people, such as individuals living with HIV who find their medications in higher tiers, essentially making them financially out of reach.

Although we have made striking improvements in women and LGBT people’s ability to get the care we need, we are just at the beginning of ensuring that the health care system truly serves our needs.  Health Reform 2.0 is one road map that RWV and RCs are already utilizing as we work to achieve the full promise of the Affordable Care Act.   

Kudos to Leni Preston of Maryland!

Leni Preston, RWV’s regional coordinator in Maryland, was honored Friday night with the Families USA Consumer Health Advocate of the Year award.  She was lauded for her “charmingly pushy” work as Chair of the Maryland Women’s Coalition for Health Reform.  Leni took up health reform work as a volunteer and has led what she calls a “brain trust” of coalition members that now serve on 22 different committees implementing the ACA in Maryland. “Since 2006 when the Coalition formed and when I left the museum field, friends have asked why?” she recalled in her acceptance speech. “Why give up ‘retirement’ to work endless hours, drive countless miles, to say nothing of learning a new language and all as a volunteer.” The answer, she said, is in the abundant rewards of “going out on a limb because that’s where the fruit is,” quoting Will 

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