Health Insurance

Headline:

People who need information about their state’s abortion laws, the abortion pill, and verified abortion providers can find resources at AbortionFinder.org.

Last-reviewed: 9am, Sept. 22, 2022

Key Resources:

The Basics

  • Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (S.C.) proposed legislation to create a federal ban on abortions at 15 weeks.
  • The CDC recommends updated omicron boosters for people ages 12 and older.
  • The CDC’s revised COVID-19 guidelines include ending quarantining after someone is exposed to COVID.
  • The FDA has approved over-the-counter hearing aids, making them more affordable and available to purchase this fall.
  • On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, eliminating the federal constitutional right to an abortion. Abortion is now illegal or heavily restricted in at least 18 states.
  • The US Department of Health and Human Services established reproductiverights.org to provide accurate and up-to-date information about access to and coverage of reproductive health care and resources. President Biden also signed two Executive Orders to protect women’s access to reproductive health services. Read the White House fact sheets here and here.
  • Special enrollment is open for households who make less than 150% of the federal poverty level through healthcare.gov.
  • The COVID-19 federal public health emergency (PHE) is in effect through October 13, 2022. During the PHE, states must provide continuous coverage to Medicaid customers as well as coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and testing. Another 90-day extension of the PHE into 2023 is expected. In the meantime, CMS has updated information for health care providers regarding the critical waivers that will terminate at the end of the PHE.
  • Open enrollment for 2023 Marketplace coverage starts November 1, 2022. Check HealthCare.gov (CuidadodeSalud.gov) for special enrollment options.
  • The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline launched nationwide on July 16, 2022.
  • COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are available and recommended for anyone over the age of 5, and the CDC now recommends COVID-19 vaccines for children older than 6 months.
    • Second boosters are approved for people over the age of 50 whose first booster was at least 4 months ago. People over 18 who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and a booster at least 4 months ago are also eligible for a second booster.
  • The CDC has authorized both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for children 6 months through 5 years of age, and has approved Novavax’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 12 and older.
  • The CDC website has information about heat-related illness and how to stay cool and safe in hot weather.
  • On August 4, 2022, the White House declared monkeypox a public health emergency. The CDC has also issued recommendations on how to avoid infection.

The Breakdown

  • On September 13, 2022, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina proposed legislation to create a federal ban on abortions at 15 weeks. The bill, which includes exceptions for rape, incest, and the health of the mother, is unlikely to pass in the current Senate.
  • The CDC is encouraging people to receive updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer for people ages 12 years and older and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older. Read the CDC press release here.
  • Due to a lack of congressional funding, the federal government is no longer providing free at-home COVID-19 tests by mail to US households.
  • President Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. The IRA will lower health care costs, prescription drug costs, and expand health insurance coverage for millions of American families. Find more information in the IRA fact sheets here.
  • The CDC’s recent revised COVID-19 guidelines end the recommendation to quarantine after someone is exposed to COVID as well as the recommendation to stay at least 6 feet away from others to reduce the risk of exposure. The new guidelines also advise that contact tracing should be limited to hospitals and some high-risk group-living situations, while de-emphasizing the use of regular testing to screen for COVID-19.
  • The FDA has finalized a rule to approve over-the-counter hearing aids, making them less expensive and available to purchase online and in stores as soon as this fall. Consumers will not need a medical exam, prescription or adjustment by an audiologist for this new category of hearing aid. Read the FDA news release here.
  • People can access confidential mental health, suicide prevention, and substance use crisis support by dialing 988. The 988 dialing code is available nationwide for calls (in multiple languages), texts or chat (English only). Learn more here.
  • The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) has overturned Roe v. Wade, holding that there is no federal constitutional right to an abortion. As a result of the SCOTUS decision, abortion is now illegal or heavily restricted in at least 18 states. To see the effects of the SCOTUS decision on abortion laws and restrictions in a specific state, check here. People who need information about their state’s abortion laws, the abortion pill, and verified abortion providers can find resources at AbortionFinder.org.
  • President Biden signed an Executive Order directing HHS to protect and expand access to medication abortion, ensure emergency medical care (including abortion), protect access to contraception, and protect sensitive health information, among other measures. Read more at the White House fact sheet or on the new official government website reproductiverights.gov.  
  • On July 13, 2022, HHS issued guidance to retail pharmacies clarifying that refusing to fill prescriptions for drugs that could be used to terminate a pregnancy could violate federal law.
  • Visit Our Bodies Ourselves Today for a guide to health, sexuality, and reproductive justice.
  • Visit the CDC’s Monkeypox website for information on the virus. On August 4, 2022, the White House declared monkeypox a public health emergency. The emergency declaration will help the US Department of Health and Human Services to get more funding and resources (e.g., vaccines) to protect public health. The CDC has also issued recommendations on how to avoid infection, including getting vaccinated with the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine.  
  • Healthcare.gov is launching a new program to permit people who missed signing up for 2022 Affordable Care Act coverage during open enrollment. Other special enrollment options are available if people have experienced certain life changes, such as marriage, moving, or loss of health insurance coverage. Visit www.healthcare.gov for more information.
  • Open enrollment for 2023 Marketplace coverage starts November 1, 2022.
    • Some states with their own health insurance marketplaces can opt to run special enrollment periods for low-income residents.
  • The COVID-19 federal public health emergency (PHE) was extended another 90 days through October 13, 2022. While the PHE is in effect, continuous Medicaid coverage must be provided to enrollees. Read more here about the other health care flexibilities tied to the PHE extension. The PHE is expected to be further extended into 2023, as HHS has openly committed to providing a 60-day notice to states before any possible termination or expiration of the PHE.
  • The US Health Resources and Services Administration has launched a Maternal Mental Health Hotline for expecting and new moms experiencing mental health challenges.  The confidential, toll-free hotline is accessible by phone or text at 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746) in English and Spanish.
  • Vaccines are widely available to everyone over the age of 6 months. The CDC recommends COVID-19 boosters for people who received their primary vaccine series and are age 5 or older.
    • For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, visit the CDC’s website. Spanish speakers can contact the CDC via WhatsApp to get quick answers to questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.
    • Search vaccines.gov, text your zip code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find a vaccine location near you. 
  • Second boosters are available to people:
    • over the age of 50 whose first booster was at least 4 months ago,
    • over the age of 18 who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and booster, or
    • over the age of 12 and who are moderately or severely immunocompromised. 
  • The CDC has approved Novavax’s two-dose COVID-19 vaccine in people ages 12 and older.
  • All ACA plans are required to cover COVID-19 emergency services and hospitalization. Plans cannot terminate coverage due to a change in health status, including diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19.
  • Visit the CDC’s COVID-19 website for information about COVID-19, vaccine safety, trends in racial and ethnic disparities, and other information.

The Bottom Line

  • Open enrollment begins November 1, 2022, but special enrollment is available now to eligible applicants. 
  • All ACA plans cover COVID-19 care.
  • People without insurance can get tested for COVID-19 and receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free. Those age 18+ can also receive any booster, and 5-17-year-olds can receive the Pfizer booster at least 5 months after being vaccinated.
  • People on Medicaid cannot have their health insurance terminated while the federal COVID-19 PHE is in effect (currently through October 13, 2022, and likely into 2023).
  • People should take steps to protect themselves against monkeypox infection.