Health News Gender Race The World Policy

Gig and part-time workers have been left out of the healthcare conversation in the United States for far too long

It is no secret that the healthcare system within the United States is flawed. In large contrast to other countries, there is no universal healthcare. As such, the U.S. government does not provide healthcare for most of its citizens. Instead, healthcare is provided by multiple distinct organizations. These include insurance companies, healthcare providers, hospital systems, and independent providers. Such healthcare facilities are widely owned and operated by private businesses. 

Millions of people are left vulnerable to falling through the cracks as public and private insurers set their own rates, benefit packages, and cost-sharing structures within the bounds of federal and state regulations. 

Employer-sponsored health insurance was first introduced in the United States in the 1920’s. This method indicates that employers might contract with private health plans and administer benefits for their full-time employees as well as their dependents. By 1965 public insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid were introduced as a means to compensate for some, but certainly not all, of the already existing flaws. 

Medicare ensures a right to hospital and medical care for all persons aged 65 and older, and later those under 65 with extreme long term disabilities or end-stage renal disease. On the other hand Medicaid, which covers around 17.9% of the American population, is state-administered and is meant to provide health care services to low-income families, the blind, low-income pregnant women and infants, and individuals with disabilities. Eligibility for Medicaid is largely dependent on criteria which vary by state. Individuals need to apply for medicaid coverage and to re-enroll annually. 

As of 2021, the U.S. ranks 22nd globally in terms of quality healthcare with countries like Finland, Japan, and Canada placing above it. In 2018, nearly 92% of the country was estimated to have health coverage, either through their employer or based upon other factors. That statistic leaves roughly 27.5 million people, or 8.5% of the population, uninsured. 

Those flaws intensify dramatically when it comes to the gig or part-time workforce. For one, it is no coincidence that struggles in regards to access to affordable healthcare also run along the lines of race, gender, and income in this country, just as it does with the countless other social issues which persist here. 

For one, those who work within a gig or part-time capacity are often not offered an employer-sponsored health insurance plan. Not to mention that they are also not salaried, so their income is often limited or unreliable, leaving these workers with little opportunity or access to the healthcare system that is in place. Such workers are either required to purchase their own health insurance or apply for Medicaid. Now, while Medicaid eligibility varies between each state, many people who are classified as low-income wind up making too much money to actually be an eligible candidate for the narrow assistance program. At the same time, however, many of the private health insurance plans are extremely expensive, leaving workers stretched thin financially or in danger medically.

This dynamic effectively allows for inequality to flourish. This is no surprise considering that the gig and part-time economy is mostly made up of minority groups, thus being complicit in the racially skewed power structures which exploit people based on their race, religion, gender, sexuality or socioecomic status. That includes single mothers, previously incarcerated people, immigrants and Indigenous, Latinx or Black adults to name a few. In fact, nearly a third or 31% of Latinx adults aged 18 or over earn money through the gig economy. This is compared to 27% of Black Americans and 21% of white adults.  

Workers rights groups in the gig and part-time sphere have been advocating in the name of things like workers compensation for various minutia including maintenance of drivers vehicles, the right to organize, access to 401K, paid family leave and proper employment classification, among other things. This is especially important when you consider that, contrary to popular belief, most people are not using their gig or part-time job as a “side hustle” to compliment their salaried and health-insurance sponsoring full-time position. Instead, this is likely their primary source of income, along with perhaps a second or even third job doing something similar. They are doing as much as they can to make ends meet and survive within a world and system which layers on barriers to their success and sustainability. One that fails to acknowledge their exhaustion and that remains complicit in their vulnerability. 

At the root of what workers are demanding is dignity on the job. 

Workers are fighting to dismantle the system of exploitation that has further isolated and damaged vulnerable communities across the country. To put this better into perspective: there is an unprecedented number of care deserts in the United States. Medical care deserts are best defined as a region which is more than 60 minutes away from the closest hospital. Nearly 1 in 5 residential areas in America, or around 640 entire counties, fall under this definition. 

Also affecting access to healthcare and employment status substantially are child care deserts. Child care deserts are areas in which there are little to no licensed child care providers. An estimated 51% of all residents in the United States live in a child care desert. Plus, child care is especially limited among particular populations such as for low-income families, rural families, and Latinx or Hispanic families. 

Each and every person is deserving of the right to proper healthcare, especially that which is free of the leaps and bounds of a system that oppresses and makes it extraordinarily difficult to access or afford. 

That said, the COVID-19 pandemic without a doubt boosted the telemedicine industry dramatically, putting more accessible and affordable healthcare on the map. A rainbow behind storm clouds, telemedicine has the potential to help people in many ways beyond what we saw over the past year. 

For one, people don’t have to worry as much about transportation, making virtual appointments not only cheaper but also less time consuming. Similarly, because such appointments can take place right from your home, the patient is offered a lot more flexibility to accommodate their work schedules and things like child care. Not to mention stressors in regards to scheduling, the possibility of domestic violence or even religion that can make traditional medical care difficult.  Therefore, due to its asynchronous nature, this intrusive care modality can be much less anxiety-inducing for patients. 

One telemedicine option, Alpha, has been offering such services for much longer than those which were forced into it by the pandemic. Alpha is a growing platform that allows for patients to receive primary care or talk therapy from home. It specializes in holistic treatments for women ranging from regular checkups to ongoing mental health appointments, nutrition and reproductive care – including postpartum depression – acknowledging that women often carry the burden of handling healthcare for their entire families (spouses, children, elderly parents, siblings, etc.) while also working. In this way, Alpha’s services are entirely patient led and personalized. 

Women’s health in particular is ignored, invalidated, and not taken seriously within the medical industry of the United States. Through the asynchronous telemedicine that Alpha offers, patients have a direct line of written conversation with their physician to ask questions or address concerns, unlike an in-person setting where phone calls are screened or a patient might see a different doctor each time they visit. This way, visits are much more private, personal, and accessible. 

Additionally, by allowing patients to pay with cash or in an a-la-carte fashion, the company stands by its mission to meet patients where they are. According to its website, Alpha has a few external/local partnerships in 43 states in the case that a patient needs a procedure done or to go to a lab to receive a test which cannot be completed from an at-home kit – remaining dedicated to combatting the issue of care deserts across the country. 

Alpha’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacobsen, highlighted a mission of the platform. “We educate patients on their medical condition. We are always involved with the patient because involving the patient in their care, making an informed and fair treatment plan and decisions about prescription medications is going to increase adherence to the plan by the patient.” 

 “And obviously,” Jacobsen continued, “support the relationship between the patient and the provider. We know that a good relationship with the provider actually shows better patient outcomes.” 

Alpha encourages all employers to consider health plans which include telemedicine, citing its inherent ability to provide a less stigmatized experience for patients. More specifically, much of the patient demographic using Alpha are people either without insurance or moving in and out of insurance.

“It is a great fit for gig workers and very convenient, given the fact that you don’t have to take time out of business hours.” Gloria Lao, co-founder and CEO, added, “you can solve your medical issues at midnight on your couch and still get cared for.” 

It is surely going to be difficult to return to fully in-person treatments after the pandemic considering the cutting-edge programs which have emerged and its potential to drive affordability. Perhaps, with a more urgent shift toward progressive politics in the United States and as the unions formed by workers across the country begin to catch fire, we can expect to see more attention focused on finally making healthcare accessible, affordable, and non-discriminatory.


Stay updated on our News and Social Justice coverage by following our brand new instagram account!

Love Advice Wellness

This year I signed up for healthcare for the first time. Here’s what I learned

This year I got a friendly reminder from my university that I no longer had health care. Because of that, they’d be adding an additional fee of almost a thousand dollars on my tuition that would serve as my health care for the year. It quickly had me panicked because I had no idea how I was going to pay for this year’s tuition let alone an added fee of Medicare. A thousand dollars may not seem like much to others but to me, it was a death sentence.

[bctt tweet=”It’s so expensive just to live and health care should be a universal right but alas it’s not.” username=”wearethetempest”]

Sad to say that my concern wasn’t really on health at all but on the cost, which really speaks to why we need universal health care. It’s so expensive just to live and healthcare should be a universal right but alas it’s not. So on the last day to enroll in “Obamacare,” with only a few hours until the deadline I put my Christmas vacation on hold and sat down in my best friend’s kitchen to sign up for healthcare for the first time in my life.

Honestly, the first hurdle was finding the right website. There were so many others that claimed to be the signup but really were just scamming and looking to flood your email for the next year and a half. Once I did find the website it started off simple. I filled out all my information like address, bio, and employment information. They determined I had no money, which I already knew, and decided what supplemental help I’d be eligible to receive from the government. Thanks, Obama.

barack obama GIF
[Image description: President Obama sarcastically says “thanks obama”]
Then came time to actually pick a health care plan and that’s when it all went downhill. Obviously, I wanted the cheapest plan so I didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket, but I also didn’t want a crappy plan. I had no idea what actually constitutes a good healthcare plan, I just didn’t want to be screwed if something actually happened to me and then I’d be stuck with a really expensive medical bill. There was A LOT to consider, pre-existing condition limitations, mental health coverage because a girl has issues, primary care, prescription coverage, access to a provider who was near me, specialist referrals and coverage, maternal care coverage, copays, and deductibles.

[bctt tweet=”The big kicker is understanding deductibles. What’s a good deductible or a bad one? What the fuck does it even mean!?” username=”wearethetempest”]

Half of these don’t even make sense of how they work, and others we don’t even realize are important and providers will slyly keep them out of coverage to fuck us over later. For instance, it doesn’t help if a doctor can diagnose you for free but then you have to pay for him to write a prescription to fix whatever’s wrong and pay for the actual medicine. No, you want a plan that covers that prescription writing and gets you a discount on medicines from accessible pharmaceutical companies like Walmart and CVS. I tried to be cautious of this as well as mental health and specialist coverage.

Primary care doctors aren’t the be-all end-all, and sometimes you just need to go straight to a specialist without a referral. Why pay to go see your primary care doctor in order for him to refer you to the gynecologist you initially wanted to see? Cut the middle man, cut the processing time, and cut your cost. Now, the big kicker is understanding deductibles. What’s a good deductible or a bad one? What the fuck does it even mean!? Here’s what I found.

list scroll GIF
[Image description: Scene from Aladdin; Jafar unrolls a large list that rolls down and bumps into the Sultan.]
Basically a deductible is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your health insurance kicks in. For instance, say you break your leg and your hospital bill is $5,000 because you took an ambulance ride to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery. If your insurance plan has a deductible of $2,000 you are required to pay that much of your bill before they kick in. Once you pay that, they cover the rest.

This is different than a copay. A copay is what you pay for “regular” visits, so every time you go to the dentist or your primary care doctor you pay a small fee, and your insurance covers the rest. When I was on Medicaid, I had to pay $20 every time I went into my eye doctor for an annual check-up, but then my insurance paid for the rest of the visit, my prescription, and a free pair of glasses. Some plans also offer certain deductibles for prescription drugs, so if you are a person who needs a prescription every month you want to be aware of that as you choose plans.

[bctt tweet=”This is all a confusing process and I wish it could be less complicated” username=”wearethetempest”] explains that plans with lower monthly premiums – what you pay in the bill – have higher deductibles, and those with higher monthly premiums have lower deductibles. Generally, you want that lower deductible so in an emergency you don’t have to scrounge up $10,000 out of pocket in order to get the care you need.

This is all a confusing process and I wish it could be less complicated, but I think the important thing to remember when signing up for a health care plan or evaluating one provided by your job or school is to evaluate your own health. Do a self-analysis and think of all the things you would need, a low deductible, maternal health care, dental, mental health, prescriptions if you have a condition, etc. Once you have an idea then you can move forward and choose the best plan for you. It’s complicated and reading all the plans can make your head swim, but I luckily had a friend I trust and love by my side and that helped more than anything.

Science Now + Beyond

Trump’s censorship order on science puts all of us at risk

In case you haven’t heard, here are some terrifying (and a couple uplifting) things that have happened this week to American science:

  1. The CDC decided to cancel its conference on climate change and health without any real reason…
  2. Many scientific agencies, like the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and USDA (U.S. Dept of Agriculture), were put on communication freezes — meaning employees are not allowed to speak to the public about the research that the public funds about the public’s safety (The USDA’s order has now been lifted, but the other agencies remain frozen).
  3. The administration froze all grants and contracts at the EPA.
  4. The Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines are going to be built.
  5. The Badlands National Park twitter account responded to the administration’s ban on sharing news by tweeting out awesome climate science facts, because that Park is a national hero.
  6. Climate change was removed from the white house website!
  7. The investigation of Flint’s water crisis was stopped.
  8. Scientists decided to do a Scientists’ March in response to ^ all of that.
  9. Greenpeace protested the pipelines in DC.

These attacks on science are not only problematic to me as a scientist, but also as a public citizen. These agencies were formed for the purpose of protecting us: the EPA makes sure we have clean water and air, the USDA makes sure our food is healthy, the NIH deals with medical issues. It is literally their job to inform us of health and science concerns. THAT’S WHY THEY EXIST.

None of these freezes are necessarily surprising, considering the current president’s views on science (he doesn’t like it). He’s a climate change denier (because in our new reality, alternative facts reign supreme over actual truth) and the new director of the EPA doesn’t think human activity is the cause of climate change. The current president and his cronies are deeply invested in the fossil fuel industry, which is dangerous to all of us.

Even more, these freezes are censorship of information that citizens of this country have a right to know about. I mean, the Environmental Protection Agency was ordered to remove their truly amazing site on climate change. It’s informative, it’s public-friendly, and it’s an example of what we as the public have a right to. These freezes are keeping scientists from researching important, timely, relevant science that affects all of us, every day. Though it is common for very short-term freezes to take place during transitions, it isn’t normal for it to happen so quickly and certainly not to this degree. This Gag Order on Science happened basically overnight, with a quick memo. This is unprecedented and it’s deeply alarming for the future of our nation.

With a climate change denier heading our country, we are all unsafe. But we’re not all equally affected. Time and time again, we see that environmental issues most negatively impact poor communities and communities of color. The Dakota Access Pipeline, for example, was rerouted from originally going through a mostly white area because those communities complained.

After the reroute, a potential spill would dirty the water of indigenous communities (many of which in this country already have poor water quality). Studies have shown that air pollution is more prevalent in non-white, poor communities than in white affluent ones. And, though the current president claims otherwise, we know where his interests lie — with affluent whites and big businesses like the fossil fuel industry.

Our public health is at risk with the current president’s dedication to fossil fuel and his lack of commitment to reversing the effects of climate change. What exactly is at risk? Longer allergy seasons, deaths from overheating, more frequent outbreaks of disease, poor air quality, etc etc etc. Even worse is that he’s risking our public health while also making it harder to have health insurance. “Can’t breathe? Can’t afford health insurance? Good.” – not a direct quote, but maybe it is #alternativefacts .

This isn’t a debatable issue or opinion. Environmental change and the presence of pollutants in our air and water will affect you whether you support the current president or not. Climate change is real regardless of what the current president claims or his removal of important government agencies and funding for research. It harms us all and we all have the right to know how & why it’s happening. It is our duty as American citizens to stand up for what is right and demand open communication between the government and the public. Do not sit idly by as the current president plays with our future.

Our lives are at risk and our futures are in jeopardy. Call your representatives, inform others, and share this widely — don’t let science fiction become reality. RESIST.

Politics The World

6 things Trump and his administration have already screwed up

On Friday, January 20th, many people cringed as Donald Trump officially became the 45th president of the United States of America. It was a moment that some Americans have been dreading since the election results were announced in November. And it’s not just Americans who have been paying attention to Donald Trump–the whole world is watching his actions carefully and closely.

There is no doubt that Trump and his administration will be under scrutiny over the course of the next four years. In the short time since he took the oath of office, he and the Republican leadership have already made some questionable decisions.

1. Donald Trump’s inauguration speech

Image Source

His inaugural address did not sound very different from the stump speeches he gave on the campaign trail. For an inauguration speech, it had an extremely dark and negative tone. He discussed crime and “American carnage,” but failed to deliver a hopeful and unifying message. Some of his words even echoed the Batman villain, Bane.

2. There’s no longer a climate change or LGBT page on the White House website

While Barack Obama was president, there was extensive information regarding his policies on climate change. When Trump officially became president, the White House page was updated. The page on climate change is now gone. And if you type “LGBT” into the search bar, nothing shows up.

Screenshot of search result for climate change on the White House website after Trump's inauguration.
Image Source

3. Trump lied about the size of his inauguration crowd

Though the exact numbers are not known, the estimated crowd size at his inauguration was 250,000 people. During a speech at the CIA headquarters in Virginia, Trump called out the media for what he considered to be inaccurate reporting of the number of people who attended his inauguration.

“It looked like a million, a million-and-a-half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there,” he said. “We had 250,000 literally around, you know, in the little bowl that we constructed. That was 250,000. The rest of the, you know, 20-block area all the way back to the Washington Monument was packed.”

4. Then Trump’s press secretary lied about the inauguration crowd size

Image Source

During his first press conference, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer criticized the media’s reporting of crowd sizes at Trump’s inauguration. The White House even set up crowd size pictures on televisions in the press briefing room to try to defend their claim.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period — both in person and around the globe,” Spicer said.

But photos from Obama’s inauguration in 2009 prove otherwise. An estimated 1.8 million people attended Obama’s inauguration, clearly exceeding the numbers at Trump’s inauguration.

5. Trump signed an executive order that could gut the Affordable Care Act

Image Source

Just hours after taking the oath of office, Trump was in the Oval Office signing an executive order on Obamacare. The order is allowing agencies to interpret regulations as loosely as possible in order to lower the financial burden on individuals, insurers, health care providers and others, according to CNN.

6. Trump changed the Oval Office curtains to gold

During the Obama administration, the curtains in the Oval Office were burgundy. But now, Trump is president so of course he chose gold curtains. To be honest, the curtains look pretty gaudy especially next to the beige striped walls inside the Oval Office. Perhaps gold toilets will be coming to the White House next?

Image Source
Politics The World

4 ways to support abortion access, even if you’re broke

Not everyone has the money to donate to Planned Parenthood, but considering the threats that it is facing this year, no advocate for choice can afford to sit this round out. Planned Parenthood is the keystone of American reproductive health access.

1 in 5 American women will use it’s services in their lifetime. It has built a reputation of being a safe and reliable place for all people to get reproductive health care, including cancer screenings. The size of Planned Parenthood allows it to be more resilient through political turmoil. For many women, it is a name they can trust in a sea of deceptive “pregnancy crisis centers” and organizations which seek to put barriers between women and family planning.

When I found myself pregnant while at university, I saw firsthand how important support of Planned Parenthood is. A volunteer stayed in the room with me during the surgical procedure and held my hand. While frantically searching for a clinic, I did not worry about being taken advantage of, because I knew that I could trust Planned Parenthood to take care of my health needs. I was not nervous entering the clinic because of the presence of volunteers who kept the entrance safe for me.

After my abortion, I learned about other resources that could have saved me a huge amount of grief and struggle. I was paying off the cost of my abortion for nearly a year. I know now there are abortion funds which are available to women who cannot afford the high costs of terminating a pregnancy.

I also lived with a huge amount of shame because even though I was pro-choice, I had not heard other women speak openly about their own abortions. I felt alone. It was horrible.

For Planned Parenthood to remain strong, Americans need to tend to its support system. Here are four ways to do that.

1. Volunteer at clinics as an escort or a hand holder

If you have free time, you can escort women who are often feeling particularly vulnerable through protesters. It is a particularly badass feeling to be the barrier between a woman in need and the people who would seek to make her feel worse.

Hand holding is an underrated way to volunteer, but I can tell you from personal experience it is one of the most valuable to the women who undergo the procedure.

2. Help with office work at an abortion fund

Abortions are not usually covered by health insurance and can be very costly procedures. Abortion funds provide women in need with the money for their abortion. If you can’t afford to give money, local abortion funds are always looking for volunteers to make calls, run hotlines and mail letters.

Find your local fund here.

3. Make calls and canvas with NARAL

NARAL Pro-Choice America is an organization that engages in political action and advocacy efforts to protect access to abortion throughout the United States. You can phone bank or go door to door to get out the vote on measures that impact access to family planning.

You can also help organize events or help with data entry.

4. Shout your abortion story to the world

It is critical for abortion to be brought out of the shadows and normalized. The best way to change how abortion is perceived is for the many Americans that have needed them to share their stories. The kinds of people who need abortions and the reasons they choose them are varied and without sharing their stories, abortion will remain misunderstood.

Science Now + Beyond

Are Canadians really crossing the border for healthcare?

Among the ample assortment of lies spoken by Donald Trump at the second presidential debate, one particularly funny one was that Canadians, on account of having a national healthcare system instead of a private one, flock to the US for major operations because their system is too slow. Canadians have responded with, um, the truth, which reflects that Trump straight up does not know what he’s talking about.

In Canada, the healthcare system works like this: each province decides which benefits it will or will not provide to all citizens. Although hospital and physician services are covered, dental insurance is a big leave-off in a lot of provinces. Because of that, almost all of the money spent on dental care in Canada is paid for by non-government dollars, split between employer-provided plans and personally-purchased insurance.

What good ol’ Donny tried to zone in on was the wait times for care in Canada – if you want to see a specialist, you’re most likely going to have to wait 4 weeks or more for your appointment to come up, because that’s what 59% of the population does. The government has taken some steps to shorten these wait times, and it’s the most common critique that users have for the national system.

Despite this, in 2011 57% of Canadians were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their healthcare coverage.

In the US, that number was 25%.

Trump’s exact words in the debate were, “the Canadians, when they need a big operation, they come into the United States in many cases, because their system is so slow.”

Oh really? In a survey of 18,000 Canadians, only 90 people reported seeking healthcare in the US in 2009. And of those 90, only 20 did so electively – the other 70 were mostly tourists who had to make ER visits during their travels within US borders due to unforeseen accidents.

So if we’re going to talk numbers, that’s 20 people out of 18,000 surveyed – just about 0.11% – seek healthcare in the US instead of staying in Canada. The truth is, American medicine is expensive. In 2013 the amount of medical-related bankruptcies was estimated to be over 646,000. Unless you’re looking for a very particular specialist who happens to be in the US, it really doesn’t make any sense to flee a social healthcare system where your price out-of-pocket would be significantly less.

In short: keep it up, Canada. United States, catch up.


You definitely need wedding insurance, even if you’re marrying your soulmate

In a country where 40 – 50% of married couples divorce and 13% of engagements fall through, Americans still seem to put a lot of stock into their weddings.

Stock in an emotional but also a fiscal sense. Couples spent an average of $31,213 in 2014 on wedding costs, according to research from popular bridal site for millennials, The Knot.

Recently, a friend told me that her friend had been dumped via text on her way back from the airport. She was returning home from her bachelorette party, where she’d brought ten of her closest friends to Texas.

“You’re pretty, but that’s the only thing going for you,” the deflector said to her in a subsequent phone conversation. There are middle schoolers mature enough to know that a virtual breakup is a particular kind of cruel, but what’s even more troubling is the amount of money spent up to that point by both parties on a wedding that’s not going to happen.

This got me thinking. We have health insurance, car insurance, plane insurance, the list goes on and on. Why don’t we have wedding insurance?

The point of any insurance is to protect against the unforeseen and to give buyers peace of mind. Whenever you put a lot of money into something, there’s a chance that you’ll lose a lot of money too. Even a low likelihood of something terrible happening to your fiancé, or to your investments, drives most of us to pay a lesser cost initially because no one wants to be that couple. Accidents, mistakes, and cancellations are common in our hyper-hectic society.

According to The Knot, there are different kinds of wedding insurances out there to help ensure that your big day goes smoothly. “Problems with the site, weather, vendors, key people, sickness or injury” are covered under most wedding insurance plans. There are policies that provide coverage for items. These protect from the loss of everything from wedding bands to videos and range from $155 to $550. Note, however, that engagement rings are not usually covered. For blanket coverage, which covers up to $1,000,000 in accidents, the fee is typically $185. Whenever purchasing an insurance policy, it’s important to know that each plan is distinct. Read the fine print or speak thoroughly with your insurance agent to confirm exactly what you’re getting.

Wedding insurance protects the couple’s investment.

Consider the following examples:

What if your limo driver doesn’t show up and you have to book another one the morning of the wedding—for three times the price?

Or what if the groom’s custom-made tuxedo is lost in airport baggage, and he has to buy a new one the day before the wedding?

What if your reception space goes out of business a month before the wedding, and you lose your deposit and have to book another space?

Wedding insurance even covers an unexpected call to duty for military personnel or a last-minute job relocation.

Wedding insurance, however, doesn’t cover cold feet. If the pair splits last minute, costs still apply.

This means that the individuals will have to negotiate with the vendors to see how much of the costs can be recovered. The venue deposit is typically the hardest to reclaim, followed by honeymoon expenses. There are sites like, however, that attempt to ease the financial blow by connecting couples for the purpose of selling reserved venue and trip dates.

The bottom line: there’s no such thing as engagement insurance. If you’re having any doubts about your significant other, it’s always better to wait to pop the question.

Tech Now + Beyond

Insurance companies may still be denying women health coverage

When President Obama passed the Affordable Care Act (affectionately known as Obamacare) in 2010, it changed the world of medical insurance drastically for women. Women routinely paid more for their health insurance, and many healthcare providers did not provide treatment for many “pre-existing conditions” that affect woman. These included being pregnant, giving birth with a Caesarean section or seeking out treatment after a sexual assault.

Although the Affordable Care Act eliminated these overt discriminations, recent research shows that unclear insurance documentation may mean women must pay more or are denied necessary services.

A new study by the National Women’s Law Center examined 109 different insurers in 16 different states during 2014 or 2015 to see the most common exclusions. Although these exclusions may also affect men, the group focused on policy exclusions that would primarily affect women.

Health insurance plans usually includes a general summary of benefits and coverage, which explains whether the plan covers 13 specific services. This section is usually made clear to the reader. But this leaves it unclear as to whether the plan’s coverage includes other services. Exclusions from other services may be tucked away in the additional material which is over a hundred pages long. Exclusions are also typically written in insurance jargon, making it difficult for potential customers to understand them.

The National Women’s Law Center found that six policy exclusions were most common among the insurers. In 42% of cases, insurance companies would not cover conditions that resulted from other operations if the insurance company did not cover the initial operation.

27% of plans also failed to cover ongoing therapy to maintain a stable condition for a chronic disease or other condition. 15% of the insurance agencies studied only covered genetic testing if required to do so by law. This exclusion particularly affects women who may have genetic mutations linked to breast cancer or ovarian cancer. If women have mutations in the BRCA gene doctors often recommend that they undergo more frequent screenings. But insurance companies may not cover these screenings. However mutations in other genes do not receive the same frequent monitoring.

Fetal reduction procedures also commonly affect women, doctors recommend them to protect maternal health or the baby. Yet the study found that only 15% of the 109 health insurance groups covered such a procedure.

Unless required specifically to do so by law, up to 10% of plans do not cover preventive services like mastectomies and removing ovaries and fallopian tubes, which can be life-saving procedures for women with family histories of genetic mutations or personal health problems. Care options also excluded treatment for self-inflicted conditions 11% of the time. This is particularly dangerous because, nationally, more women attempt suicide and more women survive suicide attempts.

Some health insurance providers deny that the issues of the study are problems. Still, the study’s authors call for more transparency in the wording of insurance agreements. It’s imperative that women clearly understand what they’re agreeing to when they sign health insurance agreements.

On a preventative policy level, lawmakers at both the federal and state levels could ban health insurance companies from making certain exclusions. Lawmakers or insurance companies could also change page limits in the “benefits and coverage” section to include more conditions.