Archive for September, 2013

How the LGBT Community Can Get Covered

September 17, 2013


Did you know that one in three lower-income lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) adults in the United States are living without health insurance?

That’s why we were thrilled to participate in the launch of new initiative designed to reach LGBT Americans about their health insurance opportunities, called Out2Enroll, in a kickoff briefing at the White House on Thursday, September 12.

Similar to Get Covered America, Out2Enroll is about answering questions and providing the best information about how members of the LGBT community can find a health insurance plan to fit their needs and budgets.

The Center for American Progress, one of the main partners in the Out2Enroll campaign, has a fact sheet detailing the top things LGBT Americans need to know about their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act. Here are some highlights:

  • Through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you will see all health insurance plans and prices clearly laid out side-by-side, with no fine print.
  • You’ll have multiple ways to get help and find a plan that’s right for you — online, in person, or over the phone.Every plan available in the Health Insurance Marketplace will have to cover important benefits like doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescriptions, preventive care, and more.
  • No one can be treated differently in the Marketplace because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. You’ll have the same access to health insurance plans as everybody else.
  • No one can be denied coverage or charged more for having HIV, cancer, or any other pre-existing condition.
  • If you are a transgender person, you can expect your insurance will cover the same services offered to everyone else on your same plan. Depending on your coverage, surgical procedures pertaining to gender transition may also be included.
  • Regardless of where you live, if you are legally married, you can receive financial assistance as a married couple.

You can check back at Out2Enroll for more information as the Health Insurance Marketplace opens in each state. Here’s to getting the word out!

Get the Word Out Week Recap

September 10, 2013

Health centers. Libraries. Job fairs. Farmer’s markets. These are just a few of the places you could find Get Covered America volunteers and staff as part of our Get the Word Out Week of events, which wrapped up on Sunday.

More than 1,000 volunteers joined us to help get the word out to people about the new health insurance options. Many of our volunteers and staff know firsthand the struggles of not having adequate health insurance, as well as the peace of mind that having health insurance brings.

In conversation after conversation, people in communities across the country are eager to check out these options side-by-side through the new Health Insurance Marketplace in each state coming this October.

Karla, a Get Covered America organizer for Essex County, New Jersey, is a Marine veteran with an infant son. She’s had to carefully manage the family’s health situation while living more than an hour away from the nearest VA hospital. Her experiences led her to help Get Covered America’s efforts to increase awareness of the new health care options made possible by the Affordable Care Act.


Click here to see all the photos from Get the Word Out Week.

While going door-to-door on a sunny Saturday in New Jersey, a couple of Get Covered America canvassers were invited by Geraldine, 65, to sit on her porch to talk about the new health insurance options. While Geraldine was already covered under Medicare (and with her cataracts, that was a very good thing), her son, Hassan, 33, did not have coverage.

Hassan wasn’t home, but that didn’t stop his mom: She got out her cell phone, dialed her son, and put him on speakerphone so the canvassers could talk with him right then and there. He was thrilled to hear the information about the upcoming Marketplace opening, and eager to know more.

This is exactly what the Get Covered America campaign is all about: having frank conversations about what’s in store for millions of Americans this fall under the new health care law—one person at a time.

And we’re making progress. When we first started back in November 2012, our research showed that 78% of uninsured Americans didn’t know about the new health insurance exchanges. But the latest August poll found that number dropped to 43%.

We still have a lot of work to do in the next few months, but with stories like these, we are motivated to rock onward!

Why Preventive Care Matters

September 5, 2013

Being uninsured means you often “ride out” your sicknesses, or only get treatment when things are really bad. Been there. Done that. Ugh. But wouldn’t it be great to have a doctor check up on you when you’re feeling relatively good, and give you advice on how to keep feeling good, or even better? Yup. That’s called preventive care, and having health insurance that covers important screening tests can actually save lives.


This week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that one-quarter of all heart and stroke deaths each year are considered preventable. Let me say that again: Out of 800,000 Americans who died from heart attacks or a stroke, 200,000 happened because the signs of heart disease weren’t caught early enough.

One out of every five Americans aged 18 to 64 is uninsured, including many of these these stroke or heart attack victims. Face it: If you have health insurance, you’re more likely to go see a doctor. That’s what the Affordable Care Act aims to do: making quality health care accessible to everybody. All plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace must include preventive measures like blood pressure and cholesterol screenings widely accessible to Americans, so that there can be early intervention and treatment. In fact, there are 15 preventive services for adults, plus an additional 7 more for women (including mammograms and pregnancy tests), and 26 total for children, including vaccinations. (Read the full list of preventive services here.) Best of all, they’re all free.

Dr. Thomas Friedan, head of the CDC, said in regards to the health care law helping to lower the heart disease rate: “We do expect that if people [age] 40 to 64 get insured, get care and get good care, we will see significant reductions.”

So in 2014, once you get covered, you can schedule that checkup, and get checked out from head to toe. Sweeeeet.

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