In Case You Missed It, Some Good News for Families

As back-to-school time approaches, life can get pretty busy. Keeping up with the news becomes not the highest priority for some. We’re here to help. Below are some current-event tidbits to know about, all of it good news from the past couple of weeks.

  1. Your birth control may now be free. As of August 1, family planning is part of preventive care, and your health insurer has to pick up 100% of the cost for it, thanks to the nation’s health law. Some people’s health plans are exempt, so it’s not a guarantee, but over 3 million Texas women do qualify as of this month, so be sure to check with your insurer.
  2. Health insurers trying to rip you off had to pay back the difference. Were you one of the people to get a check or rebate notice from your health insurance company last month? Over $167 million in health care rebates went to Texans whose insurance companies spent too much last year on overhead and profits, instead of actual health care.  (This, too, is because of the health law: thanks, Obamacare!)
  3. Texas no longer has the highest rate of uninsured children. Every summer, a report called “Kids Count” looks at how children in different states are doing. Although Texas kids always lag behind, this time they are doing better in a couple of ways. For over a decade, Texas was the state with the most kids unable to see a doctor in a doctor’s office when they need to. Then some state leaders started to get more serious about covering kids, and now 200,000 formerly uninsured children have health care, so we no longer have that terrible distinction. There’s still a long way to go, but progress is progress, and the health law is making sure Texas holds on to those gains.
  4. Women can get annual medical care without paying out of pocket. Just as birth control is now covered, other free preventive care for women as of this month includes all your well-woman basics: mammograms, annual pap smears, gestational diabetes screenings, tests for HIV, counseling about domestic violence, etc. (Kids already got free preventive care and well child visits under the health law.)
  5. Supports for nursing mothers, like those costly breast pumps, are now covered. This, too, is related to the preventive care covered for women, as of August. Many new parents have sticker shock at the price of a breast pump, or renting one from a hospital. Now insurance companies will cover those costs, as well as other services for new nursing moms, under the health law.
  6. We have an opportunity to save 10,000 lives a year. Governor Perry acts like he single-handedly gets to decide whether Texans get benefits from the nation’s health law, but actually important decisions will be made later by the legislature. That’s especially good news when it comes to Medicaid, which would provide security and better health to more families if the state acts on the nation’s health law. Studies that just came out from Harvard University found that Medicaid not only makes people’s lives better—it has life-or-death importance for many of them. In Texas, we still have a chance to make a huge difference, saving as many as 10,000 lives a year.

What do these good-news items have in common? They all have to do with one very important law, the Affordable Care Act. If the health law still doesn't make sense to you, check out this cartoon from the Kaiser Family Foundation to get an idea of what it means for so many people:

Now you’re all caught up. Hope it helps. We now return you to your regularly scheduled, hectic summer.

Written by: Christine Sinatra, Texans Care for Children