It's hard to miss the irony: Mary Brown, the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court case challenging the health care law, who claimed in court she "doesn't have insurance" and "doesn't want to pay for it," filed for bankruptcy in Florida last fall. Among the debts she and her husband list are $4,500 in unpaid medical bills. No one should be gloating about Ms. Brown's misfortune.
It only took one night for my financial standing to turn upside down. As a recent college graduate and soon-to-be graduate student, money is scarce and I worry about every dollar I spend. During college, I was fortunate to have two full-ride scholarships and my father's health insurance. After graduation, I moved to Washington, D.C., to pursue my passion and fight for health equity in the United States. I knew that I would be living paycheck to paycheck, but I had saved a couple thousand dollars from a previous job as a safety net and to relocate for graduate school in the fall.
"Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As African American History Month comes to a close, we reflect on Dr. King's words and the progress that has been made on the backs of those who came before us.
We all want value for the dollar when we make a big purchase. Especially when we buy something expensive, we want to know that we're getting a high-quality product that makes a hit to the bank account worth it. When it comes to health insurance, it can be hard to know if you're getting a good deal. Health plans can come with pages of fine print and endless caveats.
As a young adult just entering the workforce I'm lucky that my father's job offered health insurance, and that he was smart enough to take advantage of it and protect himself and his family. If not, I would be paying off medical debt for the majority of my lifetime. He made sure that our family was covered at all times, even during times of change, because a costly emergency could happen at any moment.
Cross-posted via the Department of Health and Human Services
By, Julia Eisman HHS New Media Communications Director
On February 9, the Administration announced a final rule under the health care law that requires all health insurance companies to describe the benefits, limitations, and costs of their plans in plain, consistent language. Beginning later this year, the new "Summary of Benefits and Coverage" must be provided for every plan, which will allow consumers shopping for insurance to do an apples-to-apples comparison of plans.
Advocates in New York recently celebrated a huge victory for health care consumers. Their efforts resulted in the public disclosure of insurer filings for all premium rate increases, guaranteeing greater transparency for consumers. New York advocates faced many challenges along the way, but ultimately their perseverance and resourcefulness led to this tremendous achievement.
On February 25, 2007, seventh grader Deamonte Driver died from what many would have considered a simple toothache. Deamonte died because an abscess in his tooth was not treated, and the infection spread to his brain. This tragedy sparked the media's attention and national outrage at the state of our oral health care. As a homeless child whose Medicaid coverage had lapsed, he was especially vulnerable. If he had had basic dental coverage, and his infected tooth had been removed, he could have been saved.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, come August 1, 2012, many insurance plans will be required to cover contraception as part of women's preventive care - meaning no more co-pays or deductibles. This is welcome news to many women paying monthly co-pays for their contraceptives and especially for those on insurance plans that don't cover them at all.