Access to affordable health coverage is important for everyone, but it is a particularly salient issue for women. Women more often manage multiple chronic conditions and pay more than men in out-of-pocket costs, which makes them particularly vulnerable to health care costs. As a result, their health care needs go unmet, with women routinely foregoing needed services and care. Before the Affordable Care Act, one in four women reported going without needed health care because they could not afford it.
Starting in 2014, health insurance exchanges will be up and running. They will serve as online hubs where individuals and businesses can shop for coverage with the help of easy-to-understand information on all their options. Developing a consumer-friendly Information Technology (IT) infrastructure will not only be important, but necessary, to making sure these exchanges work as efficiently as possible.
I was at a national conference of health care policy experts and advocates last month when the morning’s plenary speaker, Cindy Mann, Medicaid Director for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, posed that ominous question. “Uh-oh. What have we done this time?”, I wondered, as I tentatively lifted my hand. But this time, Oklahoma was being singled out for major praise, not ridicule