Demand Health Care Reform That Works for Women!

Many Americans are unfamiliar with the harsh realities of the individual health insurance market because they receive health insurance through an employer. However, a number of prominent health care reform proposals consider expanding the role of the individual health insurance market.

Leaving more women to fend for themselves in the individual insurance market would be disastrous for women's health. Too many women will have nowhere to turn for health coverage, left on their own at the mercy of health insurers, with inadequate, unaffordable coverage - if they can find coverage at all.

A new NWLC report, Nowhere To Turn: How the Individual Health Insurance Market Fails Women, shows that:
- It is difficult for women to get approved for coverage at all.
- If they do get coverage - women often face higher premiums than men.
- And if a woman does find coverage she can afford - it may not be comprehensive enough to meet her needs.

Congress must understand that women need access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance that covers vital health services for women, including the full range of reproductive health services, such as maternity care.

Two Congressional hearings on this issue have been held recently, and Congress needs to hear your voice. Tell Congress that expanding the individual insurance market is not an answer that works for women!
Dear Congressperson,

I am writing to raise my concern about health care reform proposals that would expand the role of the individual insurance market - a system that fails women.

According to Nowhere To Turn: How the Individual Health Insurance Market Fails Women, a recent report by the National Women's Law Center:

- It is difficult for women to get approved for coverage at all. Insurance companies can deny women for coverage for a variety of reasons that are particularly relevant to women, such as having had a Caesarean section or being a survivor of domestic violence.

- If they do get coverage - women often face higher premiums than men for the same coverage. In 40 states and the District of Columbia, insurance companies are permitted to charge women higher insurance premiums than men under a common insurance industry practice known as "gender rating."

- And if a woman does find coverage she can afford - it may not be comprehensive enough to meet her needs. NWLC research shows that the vast majority of the more than 3500 individual market health insurance policies examined do not cover maternity care at all.

Some health care reform proposals would expand the individual insurance market. Leaving women to fend for themselves in the individual insurance market would be disastrous for women's health. Too many women will have nowhere to turn for health coverage, left on their own at the mercy of health insurers - with inadequate, unaffordable coverage - if they can find coverage at all.

Health care reform must work for women. Health reform that expands a discriminatory system will be harmful to far too many women. Women need access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance that covers vital health services for women, including the full range of reproductive health services, such as maternity care.
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