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Women’s Health Issues: Women, Private Health Insurance, and the Affordable Care Act

In the run up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many of the law’s proponents were actively engaged in advocacy that promoted the law’s benefits for women. In particular, there was much attention to the numerous provisions that addressed the long-standing inequities and discriminatory practices adopted by many private insurance plans that disproportionately disadvantaged women. These included charging women higher rates than men, while also excluding benefits important to women, such as maternity care and contraception. As we approach the end of the ACA’s third open enrollment period, it is a good time to step back and reflect what we are learning about how the private insurance reforms and expansions have affected access to coverage for women and to identify where gaps remain.

The Uninsured: A Primer – Key Facts about Health Insurance and the Uninsured in the Era of Health Reform

Under the ACA, millions of people have gained insurance coverage, and the number and rate of uninsured has declined significantly. Still, over 30 million people remained uninsured in 2014. This primer provides information on how insurance changed under the ACA, how many people remain uninsured, who they are, and why they lack health coverage. It also summarizes what we know about the impact lack of insurance can have on health outcomes and personal finances.

The Role of Language in Health Care Access and Utilization for Insured Hispanic Adults

The ACA coverage expansions may help mitigate some barriers people with limited English proficiency (LEP) face in accessing coverage and care. However, individuals with LEP may still face increased barriers to care with coverage. This analysis examines differences in health care experiences between English- and Spanish-speaking Hispanic adults with insurance using data from the 2014 Kaiser Survey of Low-Income Americans and the ACA.

Beyond Health Care: The Role of Social Determinants in Promoting Health and Health Equity

Research demonstrates that improving population health and achieving health equity will require broad approaches that address social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health. Recently there has been increased recognition of the importance of these factors to health. Moreover, the ACA includes provisions to help bridge health care and community health. Reflecting the increased focus and new opportunities provided under the ACA, a growing number of initiatives are emerging at the national, state, and local level to address broader determinants of health. Given Medicaid’s longstanding role serving a diverse population with complex health, behavioral, and social needs, efforts to address social determinants of health are emerging through many Medicaid delivery and payment initiatives. This brief provides an overview of the broad factors that influence health and describes emerging efforts to address them, including initiatives within Medicaid.

Primary Care Physicians Accepting Medicare: A Snapshot

This Data Note presents findings on reported acceptance of Medicare patients among non-pediatric primary care physicians, based on data from the Kaiser Family Foundation/Commonwealth Fund 2015 National Survey of Primary Care Providers. In addition to comparing physicians’ acceptance of Medicare to private insurance and Medicaid, this Data Note also explores the characteristics of non-pediatric primary care physicians who accept new Medicare patients and who have greater shares of Medicare patients in their caseloads.

Summary of HHS’s Proposed Rule on Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities

On September 8, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed regulations to implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which prohibits discrimination in health coverage and care based on race, color, national origin, age or disability, and, for the first time sex. This Issue Brief provides a technical summary of Section 1557 and the proposed rule and highlights new protections and provisions included in the law and rule . Notably, Section 1557 is the first federal civil rights law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in health care. Moreover, the proposed rule extends the definition of sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity (but does not explicitly include sexual orientation). In addition, the proposed rule establishes regulations related to the provision of language assistance services based on long-standing HHS policy guidance. This brief does not assess the implications of the proposed rule.