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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.

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: November 2015

As the problem of prescription painkiller abuse has captured greater attention from policymakers and the media, the November Kaiser Health Tracking Poll explores the public’s connection to and knowledge of the issue, as well as their views of how to address it. A surprising 56 percent of the public say they have some personal connection to the issue – either because they say they know someone who has taken a prescription painkiller that wasn’t prescribed to them, know someone who has been addicted, or know someone who has died from a prescription painkiller overdose. While views of the health care law have been narrowly divided for much of the year, this month more say they have an unfavorable view of the law than a favorable one. The poll also includes views of the uninsured during the third open enrollment period under the health care law.

Medicaid Expansion in Michigan

This fact sheet describes Michigan’s 1115 waiver demonstration project, Healthy Michigan, which expands the State’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Medicaid Expansion in Iowa

This fact sheet summarizes key features of IA’s Medicaid expansion waivers.

The ACA and Medicaid Expansion Waivers

This brief focuses on Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waivers related to implementation of the ACA Medicaid expansion (eligible for ACA enhanced matching funds) or other coverage (not eligible for ACA enhanced matching funds). To date, six states are currently implementing or planning to implement the Medicaid expansion through an approved Section 1115 Waiver (Arkansas, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Montana). New Hampshire and Montana will be effective in January 2016. Pennsylvania received waiver approval, but transitioned to a state plan amendment in mid-2015, so Pennsylvania is not included in the discussion of current and pending waivers.
In addition, two states currently have waiver proposals pending with CMS: Arizona and Michigan. Arizona implemented the expansion, but is now seeking changes based on state law. Michigan has a pending waiver amendment seeking changes required by state law to continue its expansion after April 2016.

Medicaid Expansion in Montana

This fact sheet describes Montana’s Section 1115 and briefly describes Montana’s Section 1915(b) waivers, together called the Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Program, that expand the state’s Medicaid program under the ACA.