Monday, March 24, 2014

Get Covered: The Affordable Care Act

I've been blessed with good health, healthy children and a healthy partner. Should an unexpected health issue come up we are fortunate enough to live with the peace of mind that jb's job offers great health insurance that covers our children and me (her domestic partner in the eyes of the law). I take the kids for check-ups, and dental cleanings, and other preventative care without worry. It's not a privilege I take for granted.  

I remember when I was working as an intern and a waitress - it was long before kids and I was young enough to feel invincible - I wasn't too concerned about not having health coverage. Of course that only lasted until that first time that a nasty flu knocked me off my feet for over a week. I could barely get the time off work to recover, much less see a doctor. It scared me enough to look into individual coverage...and what I found was impossible to afford on my tiny income.

Many individuals and families have found themselves in the same situation - without coverage or a reasonable way secure coverage. People who are uninsured may have spent years avoiding doctors, letting illnesses get out of hand, or going into crushing debt from medical bills. What could have been an easy remedy to a simple problem becomes a debilitating condition because it was not assessed by a doctor.

This is the "why" behind the Affordable Care Act. Now, healthcare is affordable for everyone. This is especially crucial for communities of color, the LGBT community, women and people earning less than a living wage. Are you covered? If not, now is the time to get covered.

We are one week out from the March 31st deadline. Visit to learn more about coverage options.

Under the new healthcare plans, people with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage or charged more for having an illness or pre-existing condition, such as asthma, depression, even cancer. Many basics are covered under the new plans, including free preventive care, prescription coverage, mental health services, emergency services and hospitalizations, maternity care, as well as infant and children’s care.

Despite the now accessible and affordable healthcare, 81% of people  do not realize that the open enrollment period ends this month, on March 31. After this period closes, people can incur fees for being uninsured. With 1 in 6 Americans not having health insurance, it’s time to spread the word and help people get covered!

A great resource is the Get Covered America website. Here, people can find local help to get enrolled, calculators to estimate what coverage may cost, as well as answers to any questions one might have about the process.

New healthcare open enrollment ends on March 31, 2014. Find more information at

Concerned about getting covered because you are LGBT?  Health insurance plans now include clear protections for the LGBT community, here are four facts I learned reading a recent newsletter from The Task Force about the Affordable Care Act:
  • Insurance companies in Obamacare are no longer allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • People can no longer be discriminated against because of pre-existing conditions like being a survivor of domestic violence, living with HIV/AIDS or being transgender.
  • Obamacare also provides free preventive care, including free STI and HIV screening, help to stop smoking, domestic violence counseling, and screening for things like depression, drug and alcohol misuse and diabetes.
  • You can't be charged a higher premium based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

The Affordable Care Act can have a huge impact  — expanding access to affordable health insurance for millions of people. But only if people sign up!  

Make sure you are covered and spread the word so that those who aren't covered can get covered.  

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