Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Don would give himself a pep talk every time he stepped on a ladder. Don isn’t clumsy or afraid of heights—his primary worry was getting injured and racking up medical bills while he was uninsured. As an owner of an exterior construction company, Don gets on ladders and performs other potentially hazardous activities at work almost every day. Without health insurance, Don doesn’t know how he would support his family of four if he got injured or sick.
Thanks to new regulations released by the Obama administration last month, the right to receive health care without discrimination is stronger than ever before. Health justice and health equity advocates across the nation celebrated the long-awaited release of the regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act.
In May, the Obama administration released new regulations that prohibit discrimination by health plans, health facilities, and health care programs. The rules implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, and build upon existing civil rights law. One important feature of this provision is that individuals who believe they have suffered discrimination when seeking health care can take action.
Things have been pretty busy in the health equity world since last month’s blog. In addition to celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we received news that uninsured rates are the lowest ever (woo-hoo!), Medi-Cal coverage for undocumented children in California became a reality, the long-awaited health anti-discrimination rule was published, as was the rule on Medicaid managed care.
The Families USA Health Action Team provides resources and consults on strategies for health care advocates around the country, working with our state and national partners. In this monthly blog, we’ll share news about our travels and progress on state policies.
As a freelance writer and director of a small nonprofit that provides expressive arts experiences to refugees in Tucson, Arizona, Marge is already very busy. But last year, Marge spent so much time trying to find a primary care physician in her health plan’s network that it began to feel like her third part-time job. Marge spent months calling doctors who were listed in her plan’s online provider directory, but this critical consumer resource proved to be inaccurate.
The Obama administration recently took steps to help people leaving prison or jail get health coverage more easily. Last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a long-awaited clarification regarding health coverage for people involved with the criminal justice system. Through this guidance, CMS seeks to expand health coverage options for those who’ve recently been released from incarceration.
Last week, CMS announced some changes to special enrollment periods for the health insurance marketplaces. We were disappointed to see that CMS is tightening the rules to allow for people who are moving permanently to qualify for an SEP.
To be eligible for the permanent move SEP, the new rule now requires consumers to have minimum essential coverage for at least one of the 60 days before they move. Previously, consumers could enroll upon moving without having prior health insurance.
As drug prices continue to rise at an unsustainable rate, we must ensure that our health care system and its financial incentives enhance the quality and value of care. We believe the Medicare Part B prescription drug model proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) creates value for the patient and the program by encouraging treatment choices that have been shown to improve care and health outcomes.
The big news from Capitol Hill this spring comes courtesy of House Republicans, who are still mulling over plans to replace the Affordable Care Act. As we’ll explain, although no formal plan has been released, several harmful proposals have sprung up. But this spring also brought some fresh ideas from members of Congress that would, if passed, improve our health care system.