Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Insurance Woes

I'm in the midst securing my own health insurance. After turning 22 in April, I only have 30 more days and then I lose coverage from my family plan. This would of course happen right as I found out I would needing major surgery-- not fun. But through this process I have learned even more about how insurance works and doesn't work, for that matter.

Let me clarify up front... I am not pretending to offer any better system of health care. I don't understand insurance law and our country's health system enough to offer a solution. I am merely pointing out what I find as a very important problem.

I have learned quite a bit recently that has me very worried.

First of all, something that concerns men and women of all ages:

Our own U.S. Senate is about to eliminate guaranteed insurance coverage for mammograms and other vital cancer screenings! Imagine your mother, sister, daughter, wife getting a mammogram and then being told the insurance company refuses to cover it. This is dangerous for both men and women as colonoscopies, prostate cancer screenings are also at risk!

Now I understand that insurance companies can't cover everything-- but what could be more important than cancer screenings. Especially when we know how dangerous breast cancer and prostrate cancer are.

Click here to send a quick email to your U.S. Senators Now. Tell them to Save Mammograms and other life-saving cancer screenings-- OPPOSE S.1955. At risk are our mammograms, pap smears, colonoscopies, prostate cancer screenings, clinical trials, and off-label drug uses!

However, contraceptive coverage is once agian at major risk!!!

Equity for Women's Health Is at Stake

Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) introduced the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (S.1955-HIMMAA).

Just today Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA) stood up and demanded an amendment that would cover contraception in this proposal. Without this, the HIMMAA would gut states' contraceptive equity protections and exempt insurance companies from virtually all state laws regulating health insurance benefits.

For years, many insurance plans covered prescription drugs, but refused to cover birth control pills and other prescription contraceptives for women. In the past decade, lawmakers in 23 states have remedied this inequity and enacted contraceptive coverage laws. Under HIMMAA, women would lose contraceptive equity protections currently guaranteed by state law.

The HIMMAA is especially dangerous for women because it would nullify hundreds of state laws that ensure patients get the medical care they need. The law would potentially

-- not allow women to designate their ob/gyns as primary care providers

--not allow women to seek care directly from their ob/gyns, but would force them to be screened by their primary care doctors first

-- dismantle coverage for contraception

-- dismantle coverage for annual cervical and ovarian cancer exams

--not allow women to stay with the same doctor throughout a pregnancy, if that doctor was dropped from the insurance provider plan

More than 250 national organizations have opposed HIMMAA. This includes 41 state attorneys general, 19 state insurance commissioners, many governors, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Diabetes Association, United Cerebral Palsy, the American Cancer Society, the American Nurses Association, the American Mental Health Association, and the American Association of People with Disabilities.

How would HIMMAA affect my state?

Take action and oppose this loss of coverage to women!

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