Tuesday, October 1, 2013
by Lois Uttley, Director, Raising Women’s Voices-NY
Women use more health care than men do, in part because of our need for reproductive health care. That’s why it’s so dismaying that one in five American women in our childbearing years (15 to 44) had no health insurance last year, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute.
Fortunately, help is on the way for many uninsured women, including 960,000 here in New York State. New health insurance marketplaces open around the country on October 1, offering more affordable health insurance that covers many of the key services women need.
Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need (RWV) and the Ms. Foundation for Women are working together to reach uninsured women with this information through a new social media campaign, Women 4 Health Care.
Through use of Facebook and Twitter, the campaign hopes to spread the word to uninsured women, especially low-income women and women of color. Our key messages are:
- The new health plans will cover the care women need, including birth control and pregnancy care, doctor visits, emergency care, hospital stays and more.
- Financial aid is available to help women and families afford private health insurance plans, and some low-income people will be able to get free or very low-cost public insurance.
- You can get help applying for coverage and choosing a plan by visiting a non-profit “navigator” agency in your neighborhood, calling a help line or going online.
- By getting covered, you will be able to get the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t risk medical bankruptcy if you or someone in your family has a serious accident or becomes gravely ill.
You can share our campaign by visiting the Raising Women’s Voices Facebook page and Twitter feed. The Raising Women’s Voices website has some helpful resources, including fact sheets describing how to apply for coverage and how to go about picking a plan.
Here in New York City, Raising Women’s Voices-NY staff, interns and volunteers are busy going to the places that women and families congregate — such as farmers’ markets, street fairs, festivals and concerts — to explain the new coverage options that are becoming available through our state marketplace, which is called NY State of Health. We are concentrating on neighborhoods with higher concentrations of uninsured people, such as Harlem, the South Bronx and Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn.
We are also giving presentations at churches, community centers and other places where women frequently go. If you would like to request a presentation, please contact our Community Organizer, Liza Lederer-Plaskett at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our outreach work to women in NYC is partly funded with a generous grant from the Ms. Foundation for Women.
Soon, we hope every uninsured woman in New York will be able to check off “apply for health insurance” on her personal “to do” list.
Lois Uttley is the Director of Raising Women’s Voices-NY and a member of the NYC Advisory Board for the NY State of Health marketplace.