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

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


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

Halloween Trending: Most Popular Costumes in 2013

Halloween Trending: Most Popular Costumes in 2013

Wondering what the most popular Halloween costumes are for 2013?  As you know, we take Halloween very seriously in this house!  After all, our street gets over 400 Trick-or-Treaters in three plus hours! Picking the right costume can mean the difference between getting voted “coolest” house and being TP’d.   Choosing the “right” costume is a family event.  This year, much to Adam and my dismay, there has been a bit of dissention in the ranks and Lulu has elected to go it alone.  So we decided to check out what costume choices are trending this fall in hopes that there won’t be too many Steam Punk Pirates or Endermen walking the streets of Highland Park. Top 10 Halloween Costumes Over-All in 2013

Lulu: Zombie Child

Lulu: Zombie Child


    • Drop Dead Gorgeous:  Yes, zombies are all the craze thanks to shows like “The Walking Dead.”  Last year Lulu embraced the trend and wreaked havoc on her neighbors as a zombie child.  (In my opinion, best costume EVER!)

Minecraft:  Somebody stop me before I scream.  Suddenly, our 10 year old is demanding that I dive in dumpsters to recover cardboard boxes, paint them black and assemble them as a Halloween costume.  She decided to be “Enderman” this year and somehow that is a really big deal.  All I know is I just shelled out $30 for a painted black box with purple slots for eyes.  I seriously hope this trend is a “one-Halloween-hit” wonder.



  •  Adventure Time:  Have you heard of Jake, Finn, Fiona, Princess Bubblegum or the Ice King?  Me neither.  But according to the Spirit of Halloween site, they are a hot commodity
  • Super Heroes:  Not a shocker and I expect to see my share of Superman, Batman and Iron Man this Halloween. Don’t forget, you can also secure a super-hero costume for your super canine too!
  • Princesses!  Oh!  Those princesses are EVERYWHERE this year and they’re not just for little girls either.  A sexy Ariel?  King Triton would be horrified!
  • Killers:  Yes, it’s time to get the bejeezus scared out of us by pint-sized killers. Look for Dexter this year with his buddies: Mike Myers, Freddy Kruger and the “Scream” ghost.
  • Angry Birds:  One word: Again??  Okay, can we please move on from 2011’s hottest costume?
  • “Minions! Oh! Universal Studios, you know we still love you!  And we love the cuddly yet mischievous yellow minions too.  There is a lot of variety from which to choose: some with hats, hair, goggles…Be sure to check out the DIY costumes found on 
  • Venellope: From Wreck-It-Ralph.  It’s a definite DIY if you have the time, patience and the talent.
  • Celebrities:  I am beginning to wonder how many Miley Cirus look-alikes we are going to have to endure this Halloween?  Worse, I am still trying to figure out what to tell Lulu should she see a Miley clone.  Hannah Montana, she ain’t.



Top 5 Children’s costumes: Overall anything related to movies or animated shows are trending.

          1. Despicable Me 2: Minions…minions…minions
          2. Monster’s University
          3. Super Heroes
          4. Sofia, the 1st.
          5. Doc McStuffin:  Personally, I am really looking forward to seeing this costume.  Too cute!








And now….my FAVORITE list for 2013:  The NEW Costumes

Really?  Who comes up with these things?

Really? Who comes up with these things?


        • Totally 80’s:  I think that I am offended by this
        • Batman Classic 1966 Series Grand Heritage Batwoman:  Just saw a Barbie dress in this garb. If Barbie’s wearing it, it must be popular, right?
        • Skylanders: Deluxe Crusher
        • Morph suits: Okay, I DID see people wearing them last year but I’ve noticed that there are a lot more variations.  American flag morph suits anyone?  Creepy!



So, what’s it going to be?  Are you standing out in the crowd with your fancy-pants costume or are you following the pack?  It looks like we are doing a bit of both. If you are in the Chicago area and in need of one of these costumes, you may want to skip the pop-up Halloween shops and hit Fantasy Costumes.  They seem to have the best (and strangest) variety of costumes this year.  Also, they’re open 24 hours/day the week before Halloween.  There’s nothing like buying a Halloween costume at 3 o’clock in the morning.


Disclaimer:  Not one of these stores, brands, sites or products paid me a red cent (or any other form of currency including helping me with my Halloween costume,)  Not one.  Just thought you should know.