Last night I attended an incredible event the Dems cosponsored called Raising Women’s Voices, where several women’s health advocates elucidated relevant parts of the new-ish healthcare bill for young women. They unpacked several confusing aspects of the bill, like the concept of “aging out,” state run plan exchanges, and advancements for women. Below is a condensed “What I Learned” package, all nice and kitchen-table-bonding-with-your-parents-like.
Aging Out: Before healthcare reform, citizens could no longer be covered by their parents’ plans after a certain age (usually around 23). This “aging out” time has been bumped to age 26, regardless of dependent and even marital status. (Yes, this means that married citizens can still be on their parents’ health care plans as long as they’re under 26. But sorry, spouses! No mama and papa health care for you!)
State Run Exchanges: Basically, under the new law, the government has set up a system in which you can shop for more affordable or better health care plans in an exchange setup (exchange as in a commodity market, not exchange as in something that involves a trade in of one insurance for another, or hipster gear). These exchanges will require that each state set up a website and telephone hotline to help individuals and small business purchase qualified health plans. There is also now a better standard for what these plans have to offer as a minimum.
Things That Affect Us Lady Folk: While sadly birth control is still not mandated for free coverage because it’s not considered “preventive” (read: things that make me do this), there are advancements for women in the healthcare bill. First, being a women is no longer considered a pre-existing condition; that is, gender rating is now illegal. (Yay!) Maternity coverage is mandated. (Yay!) Birthing centers are covered by insurance. (Yay!) And “some preventive services” will be covered for women. (Uh…what?) Bad things: abortions still can’t be federally funded or subsidized, many birth control options are not covered or covered enough, and abortion coverage is separated from overall health coverage (meaning you have to send two separate checks for each service for each billing period, an unnecessary obstacle), and community health centers that provide abortion services cannot receive federal funding. So boo, boo, and double boo to those.
As Janine blogged earlier in the year, there is still a fight against reproductive choice for women being waged furiously by the right in many states. Health care reform is far from perfect (and hopefully far from over), but it’s important to know what our new rights are, limited though they may be.
Sign the petition (http://www.raisingwomensvoices.net/contracpt-is-preventn-petition/) to get involved!