October 2013
The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare


The YouToons Get Ready for Obamacare
Written and produced by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and narrated by Charlie Gibson, former anchor of ABC's World News, the YouToons video describes the Affordable Care Act in a very engaging and easy to understand format.  For more on health reform from the KFF, including an interactive subsidy calculator and other consumer tools, please click here.
AMCHP's Who Will Be Covered for What in 2014? Guide to the ACA
The Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs has put together an overview of the projected public and private insurance coverage and essential health benefits for women and children under the Affordable Care Act.  Click here for the guide.

Raising Women's Voices

(RWV) is a national initiative working to make sure women's voices are heard and women's concerns are addressed as policymakers put the health care law into action.  RWV was founded in 2007 by the Black Women's Health Imperative, the National Women's Health Network and the Merger Watch Project of Community Catalyst. It currently has 

 25 regional coordinators in 23 states and the District of Columbia.

RWV's website has info for women on getting coverage through the health insurance exchanges, "Coverage Checklists" for different groups of women, including mothers, women of color, and young women, and ways to take action to support access to care for all women.  For a blog post from Cecilia Senz Becerra, a RWV Field Organizer working with Regional Coordinators in states that are defaulting to the Federal Facilitated Marketplace, please click here

Health Reform Resources from the Southeast

 Florida CHAIN is a statewide consumer health advocacy organization, founded in 1999, dedicated to improving the health of all Floridians by promoting access to affordable, quality health care. They seek to build the capacities for and linking consumer, community and service organizations with health care advocacy. Florida CHAIN provides policy education, collaborative networking, training, and communications and organizing tools to the public, allied partners, media and policy makers.  To find out more and to access ACA information and resources, please see their website.

Cover Georgia is a coalition of health care consumers, advocates, providers, and other stakeholders who are seeking coverage for their state's uninsured through the expansion of Medicaid.  See their website  for more information.  

h Carolina
The NC Institute of Medicine has provided a great deal of leadership in the state in interpreting, collaborating and moving forward health care reform in North Carolina. Their September issue of the NC Medical Journal includes a number of articles about different ways that providers and other groups are implementing change. To read the open access journal click here

South Carolina
South Carolina Healthcare Voices has information on how the ACA will affect different populations, including children, the elderly, and small business owners.  For more information see their website.

The Tennessee Health Care Campaign is a statewide non-profit, non-partisan patient advocacy organization working towards affordable access to high-quality health care for all Tennesseans. Please click here for more information about their ACA-focused initiatives and check out the video below about the impact of the ACA on Tennesseans' lives.
The Affordable Care Act in TN - 10-11 
Preconception Resource Center and Research Updates!
The Centers for Disease Control's Preconception Health and Health Care Resource Center includes health education materials for women and men, clinical strategies and model programs, policies and strategies, and state and local strategies and model programs. For bi-weekly updates on newly published research on preconception health, click here. 
This Month: Affordable Care Act 
It's finally here! As of today, October 1, 2013, people can choose new insurance options through the Health Insurance Marketplace. While there is a lot of worry across the country about health care reform, in truth, there have already been some major changes that are improving the lives of millions of Americans. No longer can women be charged higher premiums because they are female. No one can be denied coverage if they have a pre-existing condition. And there are no more lifetime caps on spending. We have the opportunity to help make history by putting our energy into making health care reform happen successfully in our country. Read on to learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace, how to spread the word about upcoming changes, as well as promising initiatives in the field. Thank you for your commitment to be change agents for women, children, and families this fall! 
Women and Health Reform:
What's Next?

 By Kay Johnson

Passed three years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is perhaps the most important women's health legislation in 40 years. The ACA aims to provide health care coverage for all U.S. citizens, and is specifically designed to address issues that affect women's health.


Some ACA provisions have already taken affect requiring most health plans and insurance policies to cover women's clinical preventive services without co-payments and deductibles. This includes well-woman visits, screenings, preconception and prenatal care, family planning, breastfeeding support, and other preventive services. More than 1 million young women under age 26 have already gained access to continued dependent coverage through their parents' health insurance.


Between now and 2016, an estimated 18.6 million more uninsured women will have access to health coverage as a result of the ACA and almost 9 million will gain maternity coverage. An estimated 4 in 10 uninsured women will qualify for subsidies to make health coverage more affordable. What has become clear, however, is that too many women do not know they will benefit from ACA, and that providing coverage does not guarantee women will receive health care.


Opportunities Now 


Most of the new coverage under ACA will take effect in January 2014, with enrollment beginning October 1, 2013. Now is the time to take action to maximize the impact of new coverage policy.  

Here are some opportunities for the next six months.

  • Inform yourself and others about the health insurance marketplace/exchange in your state.  It may be run by the state or by the federal government, but every state will have a marketplace where women can choose from a range of health plans that cover essential benefits. The marketplace will help people compare costs. There is a website, telephone number, and single application for the marketplace - start here.
  • Use your organizational resources to promote awareness of new coverage and knowledge of how women can apply for coverage from the health insurance marketplace in your state. Find out which organizations in your state are designated "navigators" and encourage their use. People can call 1-800-318-2596, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Click here for more information on how to provide one-to-one assistance to enroll in the marketplace.
  • Encourage use of women's clinical preventive services, including preconception screening in well woman visits.  This might take the form of public education campaigns, but equally important is changing the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of clinical providers.  Click here to view the regulations.
  • Increase awareness of the ACA-required essential benefits offered by plans in the marketplace, including preventive services, ambulatory care, hospitalization, emergency services, maternity care, mental health and substance abuse services, and more. Click here for more information.
Making Lemonade   


Unfortunately, not all health coverage challenges were solved by the ACA. Perhaps the most important gaps are related to Medicaid. The Supreme Court determined that the ACA cannot require states to expand Medicaid and not all states will use their option to do so. In states that do not expand Medicaid, a gap will be left between current eligibility levels and 133% of the federal poverty level. In addition, even for those who do qualify based on income, Medicaid benefits are not required to be the same as for the marketplace plans.  Advocates and providers of health care to women can help to overcome these challenges.

  • Educate your state policy makers about the importance of Medicaid to the health of women, infants, children, and families. For a great resource on how to do this, check out this " Outreach and Enrollment Toolkit for Elected Officials" prepared by CMS.
  • Encourage your states to cover specified preventive services without cost sharing, and thereby qualify for a 1% point increase in federal matching payments for Medicaid. Whether or not your state expands Medicaid coverage, find out whether or not Medicaid covers preventive services without cost sharing.  Click here to find out more.
  • If your state does expand Medicaid, verify that the outreach, enrollment, navigation and other supports for the marketplace equally assist women who may qualify for Medicaid.
  • Whether or not your state expands Medicaid coverage, assess your state's Medicaid coverage of family planning services, comprehensive prenatal care, smoking cessation for pregnant women, birth-related care, postpartum visits, breastfeeding supports, postpartum depression, and interconception care services.  These should be evidence-based and up-to-date benefits, ideally reflecting what is in marketplace plans or better. Quality improvement projects, modified provider manuals, or provider payment incentives are levers for change.
  • If your state does not expand Medicaid, encourage use of a state plan amendment to provide family planning coverage for those with income up to 185 percent of poverty (i.e., without a waiver).
  • If your state does not expand Medicaid, encourage use of approaches to providing interconception care to women whose coverage continues following maternity care and 60-day postpartum.  The Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau Collaborative Innovation and Improvement Network (CoIIN) strategy teams on "interconception care and Medicaid" are piloting such efforts in states across the South.

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Every Woman Southeast Coalition | http://www.everywomansoutheast.org
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599

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