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 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 or call 1-800-318-2596.


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We’re ready for action in 2019! Can you help?

Help us champion women’s and LGBTQ health in 2019!

We’re ready to fight for women’s health and LGBTQ health in Washington and across the nation! 

Raising Women’s Voices regional coordinators from 16 states came to Washington, D.C., earlier this month to meet with our national coordinating team (from the Black Women’s Health Imperative, Community Catalyst’s Women’s Health Program and the National Women’s Health Network) and prepare for 2019 action. Here we are in a brief break from our intense discussions.

Can you help by making a year-end donation to support our work? Click here to make a donation to Raising Women’s Voices through the Women’s Health Program of Community Catalyst. 

What are we planning for 2019?

We count among our most important accomplishments this year our success in raising the visibility of health care issues among women and LGBTQ people at a crucial political moment.  Their heightened awareness enabled them to hold elected officials accountable for their votes to repeal/undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA), slash Medicaid, impose Medicaid work requirements and attack reproductive health providers.

November saw the election of record numbers of diverse women and LGBTQ people committed to protecting and expanding health care coverage and access.  As a result, there will be new opportunities in 2019 to work with progressive members of Congress to exercise oversight of Trump administration actions and fight back against the outrageous federal judge’s decision invalidating the entire ACA. In some states, we will be able to engage newly-elected progressive governors and legislative majorities in expanding Medicaid, codifying Roe v. Wade at the state level and using state policies to protect residents from federal regulatory threats to contraceptive coverage.

During our convening, regional coordinators split up into breakout groups based on their state’s political environment. Coordinators from the “bluer” states of California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Rode Island and Washington discussed their plans for pro-active state work, moderated by Community Catalyst Senior State Advocacy Manager Ann Danforth. In addition to contraceptive coverage and codifying Roe, they discussed efforts to enact LGBTQ-inclusive paid family leave policies, increase young people’s access to abortion, expand dental benefits to adults (especially pregnant women), prohibit discrimination against pregnant workers, lower prescription drug costs and provide driver’s licenses to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA recipients.
Can you help fuel this federal and state-level work by making a year-end donation? Click here to make a donation to Raising Women’s Voices through the Women’s Health Program of Community Catalyst. 

Help us forge new directions in our work!

Some Raising Women’s Voices regional coordinators are working to address maternal health disparities.  That’s because Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die because of a pregnancy-related complication than are white women. During our recent convening in Washington, RWV Regional Field Manager Kalena Murphy (far left in photo), who works for the National Women’s Health Network, moderated a powerful panel discussion of our new work in this area.
Linda Blount Goler (second from right in photo) from the Black Women’s Health Imperative, provided a brief overview of maternal health disparities and strategies for health advocates. She noted that “85 percent of maternal deaths are preventable.” One important strategy, she said, is to lift up the stories of Black women and families about their maternity care experiences, suggesting that “we need to change the narrator, not the narrative.”

Deneen Robinson (center in photo) from The Afiya Center in Dallas discussed ways their staff are  “working to tackle this problem,” with grant support from Raising Women’s Voices.  First, they are collecting stories from families of Black women who have died from pregnancy-related causes.  The Center plans to produce a report and frame maternal mortality and morbidity data with these stories. They are also training doulas to provide six weeks of post-partum care and creating a directory of doctors who have a record of listening to women, so Afiya staff can refer clients to providers who  will give them good care and respect their concerns.
Kavelle Christie (second from left in photo) from Planned Parenthood of Southern New England highlighted PPSNE’s Healthy Neighborhood Canvass Initiative. With support from Raising Women’s Voices PPSNE is going into communities across Rhode Island to educate the public and collect stories about issues relating to Black/African American maternal mortality. “Black experience isn’t monolithic. We need to lift up cultural differences in way people experience birth,” she said. “Lift up terrible experiences, but also lift up liberatory experiences. We don’t want to normalize Black death.” The Healthy Neighborhood Canvass Initiative will lay the groundwork for PPSNE’s anticipated work in 2019 to build support for a policy that would ensure doulas are covered by Medicaid in Rhode Island.

Raising Women’s Voices is also exploring how to support and expand our regional coordinators’ existing work addressing key factors (other than coverage or access to care) that can dramatically affect our health – such as substandard housing, environmental toxins and lack of healthy food options. These factors – which are often referred to as social determinants of health – fall squarely within the reproductive justice (RJ) framework pioneered by women of color, which includes the rights to bodily autonomy and to bring up children in safe, healthy environments.  

Lois Uttley, an RWV co-founder, and Women’s Health Program Director for Community Catalyst, moderated a session on these topics.  Our newest RWV regional coordinator, Cassandra Welchlin of the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable (in photo at left), who is a licensed social worker, talked about her work in that state to address a wide variety of issues, including inadequate child care, wage inequality and domestic violence. Marisol Franco of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice and Lexi White from New Voices for Reproductive Justice described how their work on reproductive justice issues includes addressing such issues as wage equality, air and water quality, trauma and the long-term effects of “deep poverty”  in early childhood.

Can you help support this exciting new work by making a year-end donation? Click here to make a donation to Raising Women’s Voices through the Women’s Health Program of Community Catalyst. 

Our regional coordinators also discussed the Trump administration’s anti-immigrant policies and the potential impact on health in immigrant communities in a session moderated by RWV Outreach and Engagement Coordinator Diana Zheng (far left in photo), who works for the Women’s Health Program of Community Catalyst. Much of the discussion focused on public charge, as it is an issue causing much fear and confusion in immigrant communities.Huma Zarif, (second from right in photo) from Northwest Health Law Advocates in Seattle, explained the “chilling effect” that public charge is causing in immigrant communities, as more immigrants are forgoing health care and no longer signing up for public health programs for fear of jeopardizing their immigration status. Homelessness and hunger are also likely to increase among immigrants, as proposed changes also add SNAP and housing assistance to the public charge test, she said. Immigrant women will be disproportionately impacted by all of these changes, as they make up the majority of single-parent households and are more likely to rely on public benefit programs to make ends meet.

Karla Garcia (at right in photo) from COLOR in Denver discussed outreach strategies to help educate immigrants about public charge. Karla emphasized the importance of alternative outreach strategies like radio or in-person outreach to those who might not have access to internet. Karla encouraged advocates to reach out to elected officials to educate them on the issue and help them understand how their constituents will be impacted. She also reminded advocates that outreach and education about public charge could look different in each state, as public benefit enrollment processes can vary. For example, though ACA marketplace plans are not part of the public charge test, individuals who fill out a marketplace application in Colorado will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid if they qualify. It is important for advocates to get to know the specific circumstances surrounding enrollment in their own states.

Finally, Xyra Flores from Trans Queer Pueblo in Arizona talked about the impact of Trump’s immigration policies on LGBTQ immigrants. LGBTQ immigrants already face many barriers that prevent access to health care; anti-immigration policies like public charge only exacerbate the problem. Xyra discussed in particular how public charge will make it more difficult for trans immigrants to access hormone therapy. She described how the criminalization and detention of undocumented LGBTQ immigrants, especially trans immigrants, can put their safety, or even their lives, in danger.

Please include support for this important work in your year-end donations. Click here to make a donation to Raising Women’s Voices through the Women’s Health Program of Community Catalyst.

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