The Affordable Care Act and You! 5 Facts Moms Need to Know

The Affordable Care Act and You! 5 Facts Moms Need to Know

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Making sure your baby is healthy isn’t a choice, it’s a right!

The dust has settled on the Affordable Healthcare Act for 2014. Or has it? Did you know that Open Enrollment for 2015 starts in less than 5 months?  (The site goes live on November 15, 2014 and is open until February 15, 2015.) A lot of people are still confused about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), what is and how it affects their families.  And who can blame them?  Even those of us who work in this field find ourselves scrambling for the “right” answers.

There are a few facts that haven’t changed since the ACA’s start.  Here are just 5 key points that ALL moms need to know when it comes to navigating through the Affordable Healthcare Act:

1.     Insurance companies are MANDATED to cover ALL children through age 19! Young adults (between ages of 19 and 26) are now allowed to stay on their parents health plan unless their employers offer health insurance.

2.   No PRE-Existing Conditions carve-outs: That means that neither you nor your children can be denied insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition like asthma and diabetes, a practice that once left about 17.6 million kids uninsured. Even better?  Insurance companies cannot charge higher rates for members with pre-existing conditions.

3.   Pregnancy and pre-natal care is a covered benefit.  For those of us who had our children in the early 2000’s it’s a relief to know that pregnancy is no longer considered a “pre-existing condition” for which we could be denied coverage.  Women-specific tests that are now covered under the ACA include:

  • Well-woman visits
  • Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases.
  • Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling.
  • FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling.
  • HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older.
  • Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually active women.
  • HIV screening and counseling for sexually active women.
  • Mammograms and Colonoscopies (since Sept 2010)

Further, and this is one that is near and dear to my heart, um, breast: Breast pumps are also a covered benefit under the ACA. In fact, Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling are all covered benefits.

4.   “You don’t eat in the bathroom, why should my child?”  How many times have you wanted to say that to someone who glared at you while you were nursing your baby?  Employers MUST offer a non-bathroom private space for breastfeeding moms to pump during the work day (for at least a year after childbirth

5.  Preventative Care including Immunizations for your children are a covered benefit.  All newborn care is considered a “preventive service” under the ACA. Providers have to give immunizations and other preventive health services for infants, children, and adolescents without any cost sharing.

6.   Not Everything Has Gotten Easier:  While critics may cite the many problems with the ACA, many folks are benefitting from this legislation.  However, one of the biggest downsides that I discovered has to do with changes to Flexible Spending Accounts. In past years it was easy to submit receipts for over-the-counter medication (OTC) like cold medicine or eye drops to one’s Medical Flexible Spending Account and be reimbursed for the cost.  Not anymore.  Now you have to get a prescription from a physician if you want to receive reimbursement. Finally, the largest allowable amount of money that may be included  in your Medical Savings Account was decreased  to $2500.

Want more information about the Affordable Care Act and how it affects you and your family, please visit the government website at www.healthcare.gov

SELF Magazine’s Workout in the Park is Blowing Into The Windy City

SELF Magazine’s Workout in the Park is Blowing Into The Windy City

 

Raise your hand if you'll be there with me!

Raise your hand if you’ll be there with me!

Hey Windy City! SELF Magazine Workout in the Park is Back!

Forget training for a half marathon. Unless it’s a zombie and is chasing me, this girl isn’t into running for the sake of running. Nope!  But I have always wanted to participate in the SELF Magazine Workout in the Park! This year, I got my act together and am super excited to participate in what I consider one of the first true signs of spring!

Bob Harper, trainer from The Biggest Loser, is set to host the (get this!–Has it really been this long?) 21st Annual SELF Workout in the Park this weekend, May 17th from 11:00 am – 3:00pm (rain or shine!)

Workout in the Park with Bob Harper

Workout in the Park with Bob Harper

What: SELF Magazine’s iconic active lifestyle event, Workout in the Park returns to Chicago’s Grant Park. Get psyched to participate in a fun-filled day of invigorating exercise, beauty consultations, healthy treats, and fabulous freebies – all designed to inspire women to re-energize their lives and feel their very best.

What I am dying to try out: High-energy CRUNCH Fitness classes on the Main Stage, to Barre Assets, Yoga and Pilates in the Quiet Zone, to CrossFit in the Reebok Fit Zone.  After last year’s fiasco at the gym where I tried TRX for the first time and fell on my ass—I figure I’m up for anything!

Where the FUN is HAPPENING: Grant Park, Butler Field, Enter at the corner of East Monroe Street and South Columbus Drive, Chicago

WHY:  As if I need to say it:  Because it’s fun, it’s exercise and a great way to spend a Saturday in the Windy City! (Also, it’s a great place for awesome people watching!)

ANYTHING ELSE? Attendees will enjoy exclusive giveaways from SELF Magazine and event partners including CRUNCH, Garnier and Reebok as well as Athleta, Aquaçai, Bai, Ban®, Health Warrior®, Emmy’s Organics, Fitbit®, GoGo squeeZ, KIND Healthy Snacks, popchips®, Truvia® and Victoria’s Secret Sport.

So…what are you waiting for?  Tickets are only $30 for a day’s worth of health and fun.  (And hey!  A one-year SELF Magazine subscription is included with the purchase of every Workout in the Park ticket.

SELF Workout in the Park 5

Now!  Get your ticket and join the fun!  And make sure that you tweet me at @windycitymomma with #WorkoutInThePark so I know that you’re showing SELF magazine that Chicago truly is the hippest, happiest and most fit city in the USA!