Today’s post comes from guest blogger Lois Uttley, of Raising Women’s Voices
“Do you know somebody who needs health insurance?”
That was the conversation starter at the Health Care for All New York booth Sunday at the annual Mamapalooza festival in South Riverside Park, along Manhattan’s Hudson River waterfront. “Yes, me!” was often the answer from the Moms (and Dads) stopping by the booth.
Raising Women’s Voices-New York staffers Lois Uttley and Aliza Lederer-Plaskett and intern Nina Nnamani teamed up with Lorraine Gonzalez of the Children’s Defense Fund-New York to staff the HCFANY booth. While the rainy weather dampened attendance, many of those present expressed surprise and excitement when HCFANY representatives explained the new health insurance options becoming available this October through the New York State Health Benefits Exchange.
“I’m a small business owner, and I just can’t afford health insurance for me and my employees,” explained one woman who wandered over from one of the booths offering products appealing to Moms and families. She was thrilled to hear about the new, more affordable health coverage that will be available to small employers when the state Exchange opens for enrollment on October 1.
HCFANY member organizations, including Raising Women’s Voices-NY, will be out and about at various community festivals this spring and summer, working to raise awareness about the new health coverage that will be available for individuals, families and small employers. Would you like Raising Women’s Voices or another HCFANY member organization to come to your event? If so, contact Liza@raisingwomensvoices.net.
This week, the State-sponsored report on how to reduce health disparities through the New York Health Benefit was released, outlining a myriad of recommendations culled from a stakeholder meeting held back in September.
These recommendations track three core themes discussed at the stakeholder meeting: 1) consumer assistance, 2) network adequacy, and 3) data collection. Recommendations are discussed in detail based on stakeholder comments, panel presentations and research models employed in other parts of the country. These include:
1. Consumer assistance:
- Language access and communication assistance
- Language accessibility guidelines for insurers
- Plain language
- Availability of decision-making support tools
- Sensetivity training for consumer assistors
- Creating Exchange website and materials that have an inclusive look and feel
- Diverse channels for consuemr outreach
- Selection of trusted community entities to serve as Navigators
2. Network adequacy:
- Sufficient number of specialists
- Sufficient providers for AI/AN communities
- Sufficient providers with accessibility accomodations
- Sufficient providers with linguistic ability
3. Data collection and dissemination
- Collection of data
- Dissemination of data
The report is available at the State Exchange website at: http://healthbenefitexchange.ny.gov/resource/new-york-health-benefit-exchange-reducing-health-disparities
RWV’s New York intern, Nina Nnamani, shares what she learned about how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has improved her health insurance coverage.
As a woman in her early 20s, I am among those who benefit most from the health care law. I am in my first year of graduate school and have a lot of things on my “worry list” – assignments that must be turned in, rent that is due, loans that must be paid back and more. However, thanks to the new health care law, affording co-pays for key preventive care isn’t one of my worries.
Under the law, all new insurance plans must cover key preventive care for women without copays. This means that care like birth control or screenings for sexually transmitted infections are provided at no extra cost.
I knew this provision applied to plans starting after August 2012, and that many women would see the changes go into effect in January 2013 (when many new plan years start). But, I didn’t know whether my plan was complying and whether I’d begin seeing coverage without co-pays too.
Well, I checked, and it does! This is the first year that I will be able to get this key preventive care without paying for extra costs. This helps me stay healthy while on a student budget, and allows me to cross one more thing off of my “worry list.”
This provision of the health care law applies to all new plans starting on or after August 2012 (with an exemption for certain religious institutions). Check to see if you are covered too! Ask these questions to find out whether your plan is complying.
HAPPY VALENTINE‘S DAY!
Governor Cuomo gave his annual State of the State address yesterday, and we at HCFANY were generally pleased to see the inclusion of the state’s health benefit Exchange in the Governor’s progressive agenda.
Much of the speech focused on the state’s economic revitalization, and we believe that a consumer-friendly Exchange will do much to further economic growth in New York. We know that the Exchange will lower health insurance costs significantly for consumers and small businesses, and that’s money in people’s pockets. The added preventive care benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act will also help to lower health care spending for our state in the long run.
The Governor also said he wanted to restore New York to its “rightful place as the progressive capital of the nation” and that the forthcoming health benefit Exchange will help make our state’s health care system the “finest in the nation.” We know that the Exchange will help more than one million uninsured New Yorkers afford health insurance coverage. HCFANY will be working hard this year to make sure that implementation of the Exchange is as consumer-friendly as possible so that it may indeed be the finest in the nation!
HCFANY issued a short statement on the Governor’s State of the State address, which you can read by clicking here.