Get Covered, Stay Covered

Taken from the November/December 2014 issue of the Women's Health Activist Newsletter.

But if you’re not so lucky — and you work for an employer that doesn’t offer health insurance, or you’re self-employed, or you’re an unpaid caregiver to a family member, or you lost your job during the recession and are one of the long-term unemployed, then it’s a lot more difficult to get the information and tools you need to get health insurance coverage, and to stay covered from year to year.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created many new ways for people who were previously uninsured to get covered. Young adults can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26; Medicaid programs have expanded coverage in many states; and people who previously couldn’t afford insurance, or were turned down because of pre-existing conditions, can buy private insurance through the health care Marketplaces. As a result of these new avenues to coverage, uninsurance rates dropped from 21 percent to 17 percent of the population in 2014.1,2

Millions more people now have coverage. That’s great.

But millions of women who could have gotten covered last year didn’t. We’re determined to reach women who are still uninsured with useful information that will help them get the coverage they need. We’ve learned from our outreach work during the open enrollment season last year that many people without insurance need to make a personal connection with someone who can give them helpful tips and encouragement.  With our Raising Women’s Voices partners MergerWatch and the Black Women’s Health Imperative, we’re training and supporting nearly two dozen state-based organizations to do on-the-ground outreach and to let women know that they can get covered if they take action during the Open Enrollment season (November 15, 2014 – February 15, 2015).  We’re crafting messages designed to reach those who are most likely to be uninsured – low-income women, women of color, and members of the LGBT community.  We’re also making special efforts to ensure that information and assistance reaches Latinas, who were less likely than others to get covered last year.

We’re also working hard to make sure that people who got covered through the Marketplace have the information and tools to stay covered next year. For many people, renewing coverage through the Marketplace will be simple. If their insurance plan hasn’t changed, and the eligible person’s income hasn’t changed, then a straightforward renewal can work well.  But, many people will need more information and additional help to get renewed coverage that makes sense for them. Jobs change, income changes, family configurations change, and even some insurance plans may change. People who are trying to stay covered will need help, too — and we’re getting ready to help wherever we can.

Please help us amplify our message: sign up for the weekly Raising Women’s Voices newsletter, and share our infographics and outreach messages via social media. Together we can bring the number of people without insurance down even further, and get closer to realizing our goal of universal coverage that meets the needs of diverse women.

Cindy Pearson was the NWHN’s Executive Director from 1996 to 2021. One of the nation's leading advocates for women's health, Cindy often testified before Congress,  NIH and the FDA and was frequently featured in the news as a consumer expert on women’s health issues. When she retired, Cindy received a Congressional Resolution in honor of her outstanding contributions to the health of women and girls.

Read more from Cindy Pearson.

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1. Ferris S, “Administration: 7.3 million enrolled in healthcare,” The Hill, September 18, 2014. Available online at:

2. Carman KC and Eibner C, “Survey Estimates Net Gain of 9.3 Million American Adults with Health Insurance,” Santa Monica: RAND Corporation, April 8, 2014. Available online at: