1. Never let your insurance lapse.

Under the Affordable Care Act, falling off insurance rolls can leave you unable to get back on for the rest of the year— and some lawmakers are even proposing financial penalties or changing the rules about preexisting conditions after a gap in coverage.

2. Act while you can.

Draw up a list of any and all high-ticket preventive services you'll be needing, like genetic testing for breast cancer, a DEXA scan for osteoporosis, a routine colonoscopy. Then schedule them ASAP—just in case.

3. Get on the phone with your congressional reps.

Your script: "Hello, my name is _____, and I'm calling from [town] to urge [Senator/Representative X] to do everything in [his/her] power to support women's rights to equitable, affordable, and accessible healthcare and healthcare coverage. Mandatory insurance coverage for maternity care and cost-free preventive services benefit not only women, but also the families and communities that depend upon us. I would like to know how [Senator/Representative X] plans to protect women's health rights, so that I can fully support [him/her] in upcoming elections."

4. Call your local politicians!

The federal government may let individual states determine which essential benefits they will—or won't—require insurers to provide to their residents. That could be very bad news, depending on where you live. Express your demands loud and clear to your governor as well as your state legislature.

5. Share your story.

On social media, with healthcare advocacy groups, and in letters or tweets to your elected officials, let the world know how health insurance—or the lack of it—has impacted you and your family.

6. Talk it up.

Start conversations about healthcare coverage, and encourage other women to agitate, too.

7. Stay informed, stay empowered.

Learn about how legislation may impact women's healthcare coverage, where you can find help, and what you can do. Check out the National Women's Law Center (nwlc.org), Kaiser Family Foundation (kff.org), National Partnership for Women & Families (nationalpartnership.org), or National Women's Health Network (nwhn.org). For help understanding insurance and enrollment, try FamiliesUSA (familiesusa.org). Use your voice—so healthcare pundits know there's no fury like a woman denied the coverage she deserves.


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