253750 Preventive Women's Health: Using New HHS Prevention Guidelines to Empower Union Women

Monday, October 31, 2011: 2:30 PM

Carolyn Jacobson, MS , Coalition of Labor Union Women, Washington, DC
Researchers suggest that personal behaviors cause more than 50% of illnesses. When people are asked about changing health behaviors, most say they are willing, but don't know where to begin. Although it is not easy to get people to change health behavior, everyone agrees that having accurate (easy to understand) information to start with is essential.

Since the Affordable Care Act begins to level the playing field in terms of health coverage, one thing unions are in an especially good position to provide (at no or low cost) -- which can provide "added value" in the eyes of their members -- is accurate preventive health information.

The HHS Guidelines for Preventive Services to Women provide direction for new plans, however, what's available to them won't be used unless participants know what they are entitled to.... That's where unions have a great opportunity, as we know that women are: 1. The health gatekeepers in the family; 2. The largest consumers of health care; 3. A group that especially trusts the union with this type of information (from focus groups of union women -- we know that they trust the union as the source for this information more than the employer or insurance company).

Additionally, unions have opportunities to push for coverage under "grandfathered" plans (plans that don't cover something that is in the Guidelines) if the employer decides to make significant changes that reduce benefits or increase costs to consumers.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Explain what is covered under Affordable Care Act Guidelines for Women’s Preventive Services. Describe the arguments used to urge employers who are not currently covering all services under the HHS Preventive Women's Health Guidelines to cover them.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have an undergraduate degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and a Masters in communications (with a concentration in health communications) from American University. I have been associated professionally with unions for more than 35 years, with a particular focus on women's health for the last 10. I head up the Coalition of Labor Union Women's Cervical Cancer Prevention Works project and Contraception Equity Project and serve as co-chair of the National Council of Women's Organization's Women's Health Task Force (www.womenshealthtaskforce.org)
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.