For the last two years, Syd Winlock has had a major burden lifted from his surgically repaired shoulder.
Federal subsidies passed as part of a temporary pandemic relief package have drastically cut how much he pays in healthcare premiums, allowing the Sacramento-area small-business owner to purchase an insurance plan during the last two years that provided better coverage for his shoulder and knee replacements.
Those federal subsidies, however, will expire at the end of this year if Congress does not extend the program. His “very manageable” price — about $700 a month for him and his wife — will increase to $2,300, Winlock said.
“Even if we went to a lesser-type policy, it would still be about $1,800 a month,” Winlock, 63, said. “I mean, that’s more than my mortgage.”
Roughly 150,000 lower- and middle-income Californians would be similarly priced out of coverage by the rising premiums if the federal subsidies are not extended, a Covered California analysis recently estimated.
The federal subsidies were passed in early 2021 as part of the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan Act, which temporarily provided help to Americans to recover from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the act, health insurance premiums were capped at 8.5% of a household’s income. That significantly dropped monthly payments and led to more consumers signing up through Covered California, the insurance marketplace created by the 2010 Affordable Care Act for working-age people who aren’t covered by a health plan at their job.
Enrollment in the state’s exchange has hit a record-high 1.8 million, of which Covered California reported that 92% received some form of subsidy.
“These enhanced subsidies have fundamentally delivered affordability and delivered on the promise of the Affordable Care Act in the way that it was intended,” said Jessica Altman, executive director of Covered California.
“There were a lot of people who said things like, ‘Oh, my gosh, you know, for the first time I can afford my health insurance and my child care....’ This is particularly important given the inflationary environment we are in now.”
More than 1 million lower-income earners — individuals making between $17,775 and $32,200 and families of four with income between $36,570 and $66,250 — would see their premiums more than double if Congress doesn’t extend the program, according to the Covered California analysis. Monthly premiums for middle-income earners would increase, on average, by $272 per member next year.
John Baackes, the chief executive of L.A. Care, a health insurance plan serving Los Angeles County’s poorest and most vulnerable residents, said that although the enhanced subsidies don’t expire until the end of the year, the window for Congress to act is growing smaller because of its monthlong August recess. At that point, legislation typically slows down in an election year.
Baackes said health plans will need time to send renewal notices to consumers of anticipated rates for the 2023 coverage year, which are mailed in October.
“So we’re very concerned about it,” Baackes said. “The American Rescue Plan provided increased subsidies that are really a wonderful thing. And many of our members benefited from it.”
With open enrollment beginning one week before the Nov. 8 midterm elections, Democrats on Capitol Hill are increasingly eager to prevent consumers from receiving notices about huge increases in insurance premiums before voters go to the polls. But the debate about whether to extend the subsidies or — as some have pushed — make them permanent has been hamstrung by wrangling over the price tag and the effect on skyrocketing inflation.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers proposed spending $304 million in separate state healthcare subsidies to lessen the burden if the federal program is not extended. That money, which is included in a state budget that is expected to be finalized this month, would offset premium increases for more than 700,000 residents.
However, those state-funded subsidies will cover only a fraction of the federal premium discount currently available under the American Rescue Plan, which provided $1.7 billion to California in each of the last two years to help with healthcare costs.
“Nearly half of the folks in Covered California are paying less than $10 a month,” said Anthony Wright, the executive director of Health Access California, a consumer group that is pushing Congress to make the increased federal subsidies permanent. “We live in a high-cost-of-living state, so people will have to make decisions about how much healthcare they can afford.”
That worries Tuan Nguyen, a caregiver in the Silicon Valley city of Milpitas. Having been diagnosed six years ago with a rare and painful disorder called glossopharyngeal neuropathy, Nguyen said he has to buy more costly insurance coverage that allows him to see particular specialists.
“I need the healthcare plan,” said Nguyen, 44. “I need to see my doctor. I need my treatment. These are things that are a necessary part of my life, and they’re all very expensive and getting much harder to afford.”
Reducing the number of uninsured residents in the state has been a top priority for Newsom and legislative leaders, who in 2019 approved legislation creating a fee for anyone who does not have insurance. The individual mandate was intended to induce younger and healthier individuals to buy coverage through Covered California to widen the pool and lower rates overall as Democratic leaders move California closer to universal coverage.
As part of that effort, California has incrementally expanded eligibility for Medi-Cal, the state’s healthcare program for the poor, to certain age groups of low-income people regardless of immigration status. California’s pending budget would offer Medi-Cal to the final remaining age group in 2024, opening the healthcare program to residents 26 to 49 years old regardless of immigration status. Newsom said the move will make California “the first state in the country to achieve universal access to health coverage.”
Miranda Dietz, a research and policy associate at UC Berkeley Labor Center, said the significant increase in the number of Californians with health insurance over the last two years would be in jeopardy without the federal subsidies. Dietz co-wrote a study in partnership with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research that projects that as many as 1 million people will forgo insurance in California next year if federal subsidies expire.
“It makes it so it’s very disheartening to take away these extra subsidies that have been really crucial in improving affordability for folks,” Dietz said. “It’s a real blow towards that goal of universal coverage and more affordable coverage.”
The added cost of premiums “will be a real struggle for folks who are deciding between rent and groceries,” Dietz said.
For Winlock, the small-business owner, the added cost if federal subsidies are not extended would be temporary. Next year, Winlock and his wife turn 65 and will qualify for Medicare. In the meantime, he would probably look for the cheapest plan possible and hope for the best.
“We probably would look at some alternative ways to get healthcare,” Winlock said. “We certainly wouldn’t be able to afford mainstream healthcare. It is just out of our budget.”
Times staff writer Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington contributed to this report.
The COVID-19 pandemic shocked the world affecting organizations and institutions that supported the delivery of nutrition programs at all levels. To timely respond to the needs of the nutrition community, the Agile Core Team for Nutrition
Monitoring (ACT-NM) group, a collaboration amongst UNICEF, USAID, WHO and USAID Advancing Nutrition, developed an analytical framework for exploring pathways for the impact of COVD-19 pandemic on key nutrition outcomes.
The comprehensive analytical framework encompasses the six maternal, infant and young children nutrition targets endorsed by WHA, the outcomes monitored towards the elimination of malnutrition in all its forms, one of the Sustainable Development Goals
Linking the overarching categories of food, health, social protection, education, water, and sanitation to outcomes and impacts of COVID-19 on nutrition, the Analytical Framework the is an useful tool that allows users to construct context-specific pathways
to study the impact of COVID-19 and future shocks.
The Analytical Framework Visualizer can be accessed at https://www.who.int/tools/covid19-nutrition-analytical-framework
Health care professionals, community health workers, business owners, and policy makers can all delve into the impacts of a given shock, exploring various contexts that expand into underlying determinants. Policy makers can also click on the visualizer’s
interactive features to expand, collapse, and build out their own pathways and explore the impacts of specific shocks, such as a lockdown or supply chain disruption. The tool allows for the download a pool of potential data sources for the several
factors included in the framework, the data mapping tool.
Apple may have the best smartwatch around, but there are still some areas where it lags the competition, particularly in exercise and sleep tracking. With watchOS 9, the company is bringing a robust slate of Workout updates, alongside new watch faces, redesigned apps and the ability to detect sleep zones. Now that the public beta is here, we can get a first look at whether the company can close those gaps.
To install the watchOS beta, you’ll need to have an Apple Watch Series 4 or newer, as well as an iPhone running the iOS 16 beta. That means if you don’t want to risk losing your data, you might want to wait until an official release before updating.
Hearty changes in Workouts
Some of the most impactful updates are in workouts. Apple added pages that present more data when you’re logging an activity, so you can easily keep track of things like your segments and splits or elevations. Of these new screens, my favorite is the Cardio Zones view, while I found the Activity Rings page the least helpful.
It was satisfying to see where my heart rate was during a 45-minute HIIT session, and the Apple Watch displayed that information clearly. There were five zones in different colors on screen, and the one I was in was highlighted. Afterwards, I learned through the Fitness app’s new summary page that I had spent most of the time (about 22 minutes) in Zone 4, and Apple also helpfully displays the heart rate range for each zone.
The Cardio view is supposed to be available for all workouts, but I didn’t see it in activities like Yoga, Dance or Cooldown. They do all support the new custom workout feature, though, which lets you create specific goals to focus on during your session. This is much more useful in distance or endurance-related activities like running, cycling, rowing or HIIT, where Apple offers suggested templates like 8 x 400m repeats, 1 mile repeats or 20 min of 20 sec / 10 sec. You’ll get haptic and audio alerts when you hit your target heart rate, distance, calories or time.
You can scroll all the way down to set up your own, but this experience is pretty inconsistent across different workout types. For some activities, you’ll have plenty of options like Pacer, Distance, Calories or Time. For others, like Open Water Swim or Rower, you’ll only see Calories and Time, along with a Custom option that lets you set specific periods of work and recovery.
Not every activity is going to be compatible with distance or pace, so this inconsistency is understandable. Just don’t expect the custom workouts feature to behave the same way for all your exercises.
Runners will find a lot of the watchOS 9 tools helpful, though. Apple also added new running form metrics like stride length, ground contact time, vertical oscillation and something it calls Power. That last one measures your responsive energy demand and is displayed as a number of watts. These new metrics are automatically calculated, and are only available during Outdoor Run workouts. You’ll need to be using an Apple Watch Series 6, Watch SE or newer, too.
If you tend to run or bike along the same routes, watchOS 9 can also let you race against yourself in the new Race Route feature. When you complete Outdoor Run, Outdoor Cycle or Wheelchair Run Pace workouts, your iPhone will use on-device processing to group similar routes. The next time you start one of these activities, the Route view will tell you if you’re ahead or behind your typical time, how much distance is left and alert you if you go off your usual path. Apple also added a new Pacer mode that lets you set a target time to complete a distance you specify, and will then guide you to hit the required pace to meet that goal. Garmin and Samsung watches have similar features, so Apple isn’t breaking new ground here, but it’s nice to see come to watchOS.
I don’t usually bike, swim and run within one session, but for triathletes, the new Multisport workout mode makes it easier to switch between the three activities so you don’t have to fiddle with your watch. Apple also added support for Kickboard as a stroke type, and swimmers can see a SWOLF efficiency score on their summaries.
New watch faces and interface
One of the nicer things about each watchOS update is the new faces, which offer a way to refresh your device. This time, Apple not only added the ability to change the background color of existing options like Modular and X-Large, it’s also introducing new Playtime, Metropolitan and Lunar designs. The company redesigned the Astronomy screen, too, and it’s similar to the iPhone version where you can choose between views of the earth, moon or the solar system. Meanwhile, Lunar lets you pick from the Chinese, Hebrew or Islamic calendars to display around the clock.
I never knew how much I’d appreciate having the Chinese Lunar calendar within reach until I added this face. It has Mandarin characters telling me it’s currently the fifteenth day of the sixth month, and I can use this to count how far we are from the next Lunar New Year or my grandmother’s birthday (which my family bases on the Chinese calendar).
Apple also redesigned the calendar app, making it easier to add new events from your wrist. Siri also no longer takes over your whole screen when triggered, instead appearing as an orb floating over the clock.
Because I had set up Medications on my iPhone on the iOS 16 preview, I also received an alert on watchOS 9 when it came time to take my supplement. I could easily log that I had taken my meds, skipped them or snooze the reminder.
Sleep zones and other updates
Speaking of snoozing, Apple also added sleep stage-detection to watchOS 9, using data from the accelerometer and heart rate monitor. It’ll detect when you’re awake, and distinguish between zones like REM, Core or Deep sleep. This feature is way overdue, considering Fitbit has long been able to do this with even its midrange trackers. But while I didn’t get around to testing Apple’s system in time for this preview, I look forward to seeing how it compares when I do a full review.
There are some other updates I’d like to spend more time with, too, like the additional metrics when doing a Fitness+ workout. So far, my experience with the watchOS 9 beta has been smooth, and honestly the cardio zones workout view alone has made the installation worthwhile (for a gym fiend like me, anyway). If you’re comfortable with the risk involved in running beta software, and can’t wait till a stable release to get these new features, you’ll likely enjoy what Apple has to offer today.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Abortion rights demonstrators protest outside the United States Supreme Court as the court rules in the Dobbs v Women's Health Organization abortion case, overturning the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision in Washington, U.S., June 24, 2022.
Jim Bourg | Reuters
Even when Roe v. Wade was in effect and women had the legal right to an abortion no matter where they lived in the U.S., health insurance coverage of the procedure was limited.
Many states restrict what plans can cover, and a decadeslong national law bans the use of federal funds for abortions, meaning that women on Medicaid and Medicare were often not covered when it came to pregnancy terminations.
With abortion now expected to be prohibited in at least half the states after the landmark decision protecting women's right to an abortion was overturned by the Supreme Court last week, coverage will only become rarer, experts say.
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"State-regulated insurers in states where abortion is banned will have to drop coverage of abortions to stay in compliance with state criminal law," said Caitlin Donovan, a spokeswoman for the National Patient Advocate Foundation.
Still, women seeking coverage for abortion may have options available to them. Although the landscape is quickly changing, here's what we know as of now.
Medication abortions, which account for over half of all abortions, and include a two-drug regimen of mifepristone and misoprostol, can be safely used within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, and can cost up to $750 without insurance, according to Planned Parenthood.
A surgical abortion, meanwhile, can run more than $2,000 out of pocket.
Prior to the Supreme Court's decision last week, abortion coverage was still highly dependent on where you lived and what type of plan you had, Donovan said. "Most states impose restrictions on coverage in varying degrees."
Eleven states limit the coverage of abortion in all private health insurance plans written in the state, according to The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion rights research organization. They are Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah.
The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, blocked federal funding for services such as Medicaid from being used for abortions, except in limited cases including rape and incest. States can choose to use their own budgets to supplement their Medicaid coverage and extend their abortion policies, but more than 30 states have not done so, Donovan said.
As a result, "in many states, hundreds of thousands of women seeking abortion services annually are left without coverage options," according to a 2019 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
If you live in a state such as Louisiana or South Dakota, where abortion is now banned, "you probably don't have any insurance coverage for it at all except in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the mother's life," Donovan said.
"Some states may not even allow those exceptions," Donovan added.
However, employers that self-fund for their health insurance policy, meaning they take on most of the costs of benefit claims, may be able to maintain their abortion coverage, said Joelle Abramowitz, an assistant research scientist at the University of Michigan. Such plans tend to be subject to less regulation, giving the company more flexibility on benefits offered.
Donovan recommends calling your plan provider and asking about its abortion coverage. Of course, if abortions are banned in your state, even if you're covered, you'll likely have to travel to another state to get one.
Some companies are also covering travel expenses for employees who need to leave the state for an abortion.
Out-of-network coverage is typically less robust, and some health plans, including HMO plans, don't offer it at all. Abramowitz suggests calling your insurance plan and asking whether you have out-of-network benefits and how they work.
In some cases, people may find it's cheaper to pay a provider out of pocket than to go through their out-of-network insurance option, Abramowitz said. Many abortion providers work on a sliding scale, she added.
It's also worth asking your insurance plan if there are any in-network abortion providers in another state. There could be one right over the state line, for example, Abramowitz said.
You also may be able to see a provider in another state virtually through a telehealth visit to get a medication abortion. In these cases, your medication can be mailed to you or you'll be asked to pick it up somewhere.
However, 19 states have already made it illegal to receive medication prescribed during a telehealth visit.
HUNGER and nutrition should become non-negotiables under the Marcos administration, according to local economists.
With the majority of Filipinos already not being able to afford healthy diets, the recent spike in inflation caused by more expensive food items would require the national government to introduce interventions.
One intervention, Ateneo Eagle Watch Senior Fellow Leonardo A. Lanzona Jr. told the BusinessMirror, is for the government to provide food subsidies instead of cash subsidies. This will ensure that families do not grow hungry and that the food is also good for them.
“I would like to note that hunger and nutrition are non-negotiables. There seems to be a general trend in this and the previous administration to focus on the economy and basically assume that income will be distributed automatically,” Lanzona said in an e-mail over the weekend.
“It is important to prioritize health, nutrition and education because downgrading their values in this post-pandemic period will make it difficult to return to its previous state,” he added.
Giving food subsidies, Lanzona said, would also spur agriculture production. This can be part of a comprehensive agriculture program where farmers are encouraged to plant nutritious food varieties to increase access to them.
“The idea is that focusing on the economy is really a one-way street. It is more viable to work on human capital now and determine how we bring it to a level that can restore growth,” Lanzona said.
In a separate e-mail, Ateneo de Manila University Associate Professor Geoffrey M. Ducanes told the BusinessMirror that providing food subsidies for poor Filipinos will prevent them from falling deeper into poverty or make them go hungry.
“This is especially important for children of poor households who might become malnourished and whose physical and mental development can be affected,” Ducanes said.
He explained that the spike in inflation and the depreciation of the peso are worrisome when it comes to food prices.
Ducanes said these could increase the price of imported food that Filipinos consume on a daily basis. This includes “imported fruits and vegetables, meat, canned goods, and even sweets.”
The impact of the depreciation of the peso, Ducanes said, would have lingering effects on inflation. This will have a significant impact on the ability of Filipinos to afford commodities, particularly food.
The increase in inflation hurts the poor more, especially if the source of the increase is in food. The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said food alone has a weight of 34.8 percent in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all households and as much as 55 percent for the bottom 30 percent.
“The effect of the peso depreciation is of course not limited to inflation, it could also positively affect our exports as they become less expensive in the world market. In assessing the effects of a peso depreciation, this should also be given weight,” Ducanes said.
“Given the further depreciation of the peso in July 2022, we would expect an even higher cost for the same basket this month should the peso depreciation continue to hold,” he also said. In the long term, Ducanes said, the country should strive to increase domestic agricultural productivity. This can be addressed by dealing with the problems in the agricultural sector.
Ducanes cited a need for greater investment in agricultural infrastructure, equipment, and research and development.
He also stressed that the Philippines should keep trade open in order to allow Filipinos to have access to affordable food and non-food items. This allows a steady supply of items that are not supplied domestically and options to source items elsewhere that may be considered cheaper.
In a new video on the Athlean-X channel, strength coach Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. demonstrates a series of exercises that he says will help you build "boulder shoulders" by recruiting all three heads of the deltoid muscle.
He starts off with the dumbbell seesaw press, an alternating overhead press variation where you push one arm up as you're pulling the other down. "Neurologically, we actually function as push-pull machines, so we can get better output by pulling down while we're trying to push up," says Cavaliere.
He recommends doing this for 4 sets, starting with a weight where you can reach failure in the 8 to 10 rep range, then switching to a weight where you'll fail at 6 to 8 reps for the second, third and fourth sets. Then when you're hitting fatigue after the fourth set, finish off by dropping one of the dumbbells and perform over-and-backs, using a little momentum from your legs.
Next up, he demonstrates the cable side lateral row, pulling out across the body and out into abduction, hitting the middle delt. If you don't have access to a cable machine, you can recreate the same pattern of movement with a side-lying lateral raise. Cavaliere prescribes 3 sets of 8 to 10 on each arm. "No need to rest in between; as you're working one arm, you're resting the other," he says.
To hit the rear delt, Cavaliere uses the hip hugger, holding a pair of dumbbells at his side and then bringing them up and behind the body, squeezing at the top. Another rear delt builder, and a staple in Cavaliere's workouts, is the face pull. The key to this movement is to get the elbows level with or back behind the body.
Finally, Cavaliere works the front delt with a stretch front raise performed at an incline. "We can elicit a stronger contraction just by dropping those arms down, which naturally puts them into extension because of the angle of the incline bench," he explains. An alternative to this is the cable stretch front raise. Once again, perform 8 to 10 reps for 3 sets.
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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — If the federal Premium Tax Credits expire due to legislative inaction in U.S. Congress, over half a million Floridians will lose their health insurance. The PTCs were set up through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which temporarily expanded eligibility to pay for health insurance through 2022.
So far, U.S. Congress efforts in the House and Senate have failed to finalize a plan to extend the PTC credits, putting over 3 million people at risk of losing their health care coverage, purchased through the market set up by the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Of the 3.12 million across the U.S., based on estimates by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute, 513,000 of those who would lose their insurance are Florida residents. That’s 16% of Americans at risk of losing their health care coverage.
For Florida, the number of uninsured residents would grow by 24.8% according to the estimates in the study. It would also mean a more than $5 million drop in total spending on health care for nonelderly residents in the Sunshine State.
“States with the largest losses include non-expansion states such as Florida, Georgia, and Texas, which saw large enrollment growth in 2022 with the enhanced PTCs,” the analysis reported. By non-expansion state, the analysis refers to states which have not expanded access to Medicaid or Medicare.
Residents at highest risk for loss of coverage due to PTC expiration are those living below the federal poverty line. Americans who are currently eligible for free coverage on silver plans, the ones who live at 150% or below on the FPL, meaning individuals earning less than $20,385 per year, or a family of four with a household income of $41,625, would be required to pay premiums “an average of $457 per person per year.”
FamiliesUSA, a healthcare advocacy organization, said that should the PTC credits expire, premiums for American consumers will go up 53%. The average cost per person for premiums is currently $960, according to FamiliesUSA. They said if ARPA’s health provisions are not extended, Floridians could see their go up as much as 61%.
The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) highlights the value that all methodologies used in nutrition research contribute to the discipline, and that all methodologies, when used and interpreted appropriately, contribute to the evidence base. This is imperative to make informed decisions such as in policy development and implementation. The white paper, "Valuing the Diversity of Research Methods to Advance Nutrition Science," was published today in Advances in Nutrition.
As ASN President Martha Belury, PhD, RD, stated, "All methods in nutrition science complement one another in order to advance health and well-being." The ASN Board of Directors commissioned development of this white paper, "Valuing the Diversity of Research Methods to Advance Nutrition Science," following growing polarization within the nutrition science community and among the audiences that translate and apply nutrition research. Differences of opinion are often shaped as conflicts when they should be considered as areas of needed collaboration.
"This paper highlights the strengths, limitations and interpretations of the many methods used in nutrition science and how they work synergistically," said Nutrition Research Task Force co-chair and ASN Past President Richard Mattes, PhD, RD. Co-chair Sylvia Rowe noted, "This paper will be useful not only for nutrition researchers and other nutrition professionals but can lead to improved understanding of nutrition research methods by audiences that translate nutrition research findings, such as journalists, educators, clinicians, and policymakers."
After the fall of Roe v. Wade, many companies across the US announced they would cover travel costs for employees seeking out-of-state medical care.
Employer health insurance falls into two categories: fully-insured plans and self-insured plans. A fully-insured plan is when an employer purchases health coverage from a state-regulated insurance company.
By comparison, companies with self-insured plans pay for employees' medical bills directly. Approximately 64% of US workers were covered by self-funded health insurance plans in 2021, according to Statista.
State laws — including those that outlaw insurance providers from covering abortions — can only regulate fully-insured plans. Companies with self-insured plans are "free to make whatever coverage decisions they want," Sara Rosenbaum J.D., a professor and founding chair of health law and policy at George Washington University's school of public health, told Insider.
"The woman may have to travel and [the provider] would have to make clear that that they'll let you go out of network for the care," she said. "But they could certainly cover it."
Currently, only eleven US states have laws that prohibit abortion coverage from being included in fully-funded private insurance policies, according to health policy nonprofit KFF.
"So there are some states that will ban abortion, but that have not banned coverage," Laurie Sobel, the Associate Director for Women's Health Policy at KFF, told Insider, adding that it's "probably a matter of time" before those states ban insurance coverage as well.
When it comes to federally-funded health insurance, coverage is only offered in very specific cases. Due to the Hyde amendment, federal funds can't be used to pay for abortions. That means Medicaid is unable to cover abortions unless the pregnancy is life-threatening or resulted from rape or incest.
Questions to ask your employer or insurance provider in the post-Roe era
While employers have largely focused on travel costs in their corporate responses to the fall of Roe v Wade, there are other logistical hurdles companies need to consider in order to ensure their employees have access to out-of-state care, Sobel told Insider.
"It's important to look at the structure of the plan. So what is the deductible? What is the copay? What is the network?" she said. "If abortion is now illegal in the state that you reside in, then there needs to be some contract with the clinic out of state."
If the out-of-state abortion provider is not in-network, the deductible could be more expensive than the procedure itself, she explained.
"Even employers who have the best of intentions and are trying to cover this, it will be challenging just to make it actually work in a way that the person doesn't have to pay out of pocket," Sobel added. "For many workers, paying out of pocket won't be financially feasible."
Here are five questions Sobel recommends asking your employer or insurance provider in order to determine the extent of your plan's abortion coverage:
1. Is abortion covered?
2. Are there any restrictions?
3. Does the deductible apply?
4. Is there cost sharing?
5. Are there out-of-state abortion providers in network?
Department providing another nearly $1 billion boost to schools for purchasing food
WASHINGTON, June 30, 2022 – The Biden Administration announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide nearly $1 billion in additional funding to schools to support the purchase of American-grown foods for their meal programs. The department also applauds the President’s recent signing of the Keep Kids Fed Act, which equips schools, summer meal sites, and child care food programs with extra resources so they can continue serving children through school year 2022-2023. Both actions are a response to the significant challenges child nutrition program operators continue to face, such as high food costs and supply chain disruptions.
“The Biden Administration knows that ongoing impacts of supply chain issues and rising food costs continue to be a challenge for many schools and child nutrition operators, and we are thankful for Congress stepping up to ease some of their burdens,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “On our end, this funding boost is yet another step the Administration is taking to ensure every child who needs a meal, gets one. No matter the circumstances, USDA and all our partners must continue collaborating to provide our young ones with the healthy meals they count on.”
The $943 million boost from the department is provided through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation. Funds will be distributed by state agencies to schools across the country, so they can purchase domestically-grown foods for their meal programs. This assistance builds on the $1 billion in Supply Chain Assistance funds USDA previously allocated in December 2021, which states can use this school year as well as next to provide schools with funding for commodity purchases.
The Keep Kids Fed Act will also provide assistance to program operators across the country by:
Extending nationwide flexibilities to summer meal programs through September 2022, including allowing sites to continue serving meals in all areas, at no cost to families;
Providing schools with an additional temporary reimbursement of 40 cents per lunch and 15 cents per breakfast, and child care centers with an extra 10 cents reimbursement per meal;
Providing all family day care homes with the higher temporary reimbursement rate for school year 2022-23;
Equipping USDA with additional flexibilities to support schools, as needed, based on their local conditions.
This new authority does not allow all students to eat school meals free of charge in school year 2022-2023. Nonetheless, the department will continue providing other program flexibilities within its existing authority, such as:
Equipping schools and program operators to quickly respond to health-related safety issues by offering grab-and-go and/or parent-pickup of meals; and
Extending deadlines for districts to participate in the Community Eligibility Provision, which allows schools serving many high-need students to provide all meals for free without collecting applications from families.
For next school year, in most school districts, families will need to complete an application through their school to determine if their household is eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, as was done before the pandemic. USDA is also supporting the expansion of direct certification, which uses existing data to certify children for free or reduced-price meals without an additional application. All states are required to directly certify students for free meals if their household receives SNAP benefits, and some states also directly certify for free and reduced-price meals based on participation in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations or Medicaid. States that are interested in participating in the Direct Certification for Medicaid demonstration project are invited to respond to the current request for applications (PDF, 649 KB), which closes on September 30, 2022. In school year 2019-2020, 1.4 million students received free and reduced-price meals thanks to direct certification through Medicaid.
“USDA is working alongside our child nutrition partners to support them in delivering vital, nutritious meals to tens of millions of children every school day,” said Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary of food, nutrition, and consumer services. “There’s a long road ahead, but the extra support and funding for our operators will help them continue to serve our children well. We can – and will – overcome these challenges, together.”
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USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.
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