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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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Thursday
May232019

Despite attacks, ACA and abortion supporters move forward

Good news from Washington State

Northwest Health Law Advocates (NoHLA), our Seattle-based regional coordinator, celebrated a the recent passage of SB 5602, the Reproductive Health Access for All Act. The bill, which was signed by Governor Jay Inslee (D) last Monday, aims to eliminate barriers to reproductive health care faced by young people, immigrants, rural residents, transgender and gender non-conforming people, and people of color. Senate Bill 5602, sponsored by Senator Emily Randall (D-26) and championed by Representative Nicole Macri (D-43), enhances anti-discrimination policy to address the discrimination and denials of services many transgender and gender non-conforming people face in receiving reproductive health care services; requires student health plans to cover reproductive health services; mandates hospitals be transparent about policies related to admission, nondiscrimination, and the reproductive health services available at the hospital; and requires the Bree Collaborative to identify guidelines and develop clinical recommendations to improve reproductive health care for people of color, immigrants and refugees, gender-based violence survivors, and people with disabilities.

While the final bill passed without the provision that created a state-funded program to cover comprehensive reproductive health care services for immigrants who currently cannot access state medical services due to federal restrictions, this program will effectively be funded in the budget for two years.

NoHLA, along with partners from the Health Equity Reproductive Rights Organizations (HERRO) Coalition, took the lead in drafting the bill, working with state agency staff to iron out technicalities and conduct outreach to impacted communities. Huma Zarif, NoHLA’s Staff Attorney, testified in support of the bill in the Senate Health and Long Term Care committee, and is pictured below (middle right) at the bill’s signing.

The HERRO Coalition released the following statement after the bill’s signing:
“We are thrilled to see stronger protections for transgender and gender non-conforming people signed into law today. The RHAA takes important steps to dismantle unjust barriers to care and ensure comprehensive, affordable, discrimination-free reproductive health care is within reach for Washingtonians of all gender identities and expressions.

“However, we are concerned that by relegating the state-funded program to a time-limited budget allocation, the Legislature did not fully commit to covering reproductive health services for immigrants on a par with other Washington residents. Immigration status should not be a barrier to accessing health care. We are committed to continuing our work with legislative champions next session to secure meaningful reproductive health care access for all.”

Week of Solidarity to Defend Abortion

Across the country, we have seen an alarming increase of extreme bans on abortion. These bans are diminishing reproductive freedom for thousands and leaving others under attack. Eight abortion bans have passed in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah.

Supporters of abortion rights organized two defense efforts this week-- a national Day of Action, and a Week of Solidarity to Defend Abortion.  The week is being organized by women of color-led organizations, including three RWV regional coordinators:  Feminist Women’s Health Center (FWHC), WV FREE and New Voices for Reproductive Justice. The Day of Action was organized by NARAL & other large national organizations in collaboration with hundreds of local and state organizations.

During the Day of Action people gathered in every state to speak out and fight back against the latest attacks on our reproductive rights. “These doors will remain open!” said Kwajelyn Jackson, Executive Director, FWHC (center above). Kwajelyn was joined by many organizations and reproductive advocates who showed their support for abortion at the Georgia state capital. Just two weeks ago, Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp signed the state’s extreme ban of nearly all abortions, which is set to go into effect in 2020.

WV FREE hosted a Facebook live chat with the Women's Health Center of West Virginia and the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia to discuss abortion access in West Virginia and what their constituents can do to protect reproductive rights. The live stream already has over 1,000 views. WV FREE and other organizations also across the country participated in the national twitter storm. “Abortion is still legal in Alabama, Georgia, and every other state the US. These bans will be challenged in court, and we hope they never take effect -- but it’s going to be an uphill battle, and abortion care providers need you.” WV FREE shared via Twitter.

“Cisgender women, trans folk & nonbinary folk must have the freedom to decide when they will have children. Body autonomy is a human right. New Voices stands with the thousands fighting nationally for abortion access and full reproductive rights for all.” said New Voices for RJ.

All week long, we’re spotlighting the folks defending abortion in our states and communities. Follow #AbortionSolidarity to learn more, lift up this crucial work, and plug in.

Elections make a difference, part 2
House passes bill to shore up ACA & tackle high drug prices

In an attempt to undo some of the ways the Trump administration has weakened the ACA, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the MORE Health Education Act last week.  The bill passed with a vote of 234 to 183.  Every “no” vote came from a Republican, despite the fact that the bill also included three drug pricing provisions that will rein in anti-competitive behaviors by pharmaceutical companies.  The measures addressing high drug prices had previously won bipartisan support, which disappeared when the drug pricing provisions were combined with the ACA provisions.  The bill restores funding for enrollment outreach, and rolls back Trump actions to allow skimpier health insurance plans.  The MORE Health Education Act also restores protections for people with preexisting coverage, an important issue for people who might be tempted by the less expensive premiums for skimpy plans, only to discover that the insurance company won’t cover health care they need.  The bill goes next to the Senate, where it faces a difficult road to passage.

 

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