Your Sexual Health Stories in 1Graf

Sexual health can be a tough discussion, especially if you don’t have the best resources to answer all your questions. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) covers sexual health and preventative care, so it’s important to contact your health care provider with all your inquiries. Too many Millennials rely on their peers to educate them on sexual health, and are often led to false information. This can get even more complicated at college, so we asked young people what they wish their schools could do to better inform their students on sexual health.

Marcel Byrd, 23

Having been a sexual health educator for four years during college, I have very little shade to throw at the sexual health resources at my university. However, since transitioning into sexual health full time, I wish my school had informed me more about how stigma and oppression operate with improving sexual health outcomes across marginalized communities. Simple were the days of handing out condoms and giving presentations to fellow students, I wish I had known more about the immense privilege we carried then and the complexities that existed in real time outside of our comfortable university gates.

Kameron Haake, 19

I wish that my university would have spent more time informing its students about sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Like most universities, the mine has access to things like condoms. However, they don’t really tell you how staggering the STI rate on college campus really is and that some of these follow you around for life. The university is spending a lot of time talking about sexual assault (finally) and what that means, but unfortunately still pretends that sex on campus really doesn’t exist. I wish my university spent more time acknowledging that yes, consensual sex is common, and that with that comes the responsibility to stay safe and have access to all of the necessary information regarding STIs or pregnancy prevention.

Charlotte McArn, 22

Overall, I wish my college promoted resources for males and females to go to get help with their mental, physical, emotional, and social well being which are all so important for a healthy and happy sex life and sexual health. I think it is very important for colleges to increase awareness of sexual assault and abusive relationships. Lack of overall resources in all those areas is a problem and I wish my college promoted and provided more of it.

Osub Ahmed, 28

Sexual health is a whole lot more than using condoms and getting tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It includes having sexual experiences you enjoy and willingly participate in without being forced or pressured. In my opinion, being knowledgeable about sexual health is as important as any class I ever took. I wish my college had told me how unintended pregnancy will be one of the top reasons my classmates will drop out of college. I wish I had known if I have sex, I am more likely to get an STI than an older adult, or as an undergraduate woman, I have a one in four chance of being sexually assaulted. Many colleges have clinics that offer STI testing, birth control and pregnancy tests. Most students know about those things, but may not be aware of other available resources, like domestic violence counseling and cervical cancer screenings. Looking back, I realize that I approached my sexual health as though I were, in a way, invincible. That’s why I’m challenging you, students, to educate yourselves about sexual health, take advantage of the resources available to you and empower your friends to do the same.

Maaja Ashemu, 19

I did not have the chance to attend middle school when sexual health was being taught, so I have yet to experience any teaching centered around sexual health. I am in my first year in college, and I find it strange that even though there are free condoms on campus (showing there is a clear daily encounter with sexual subjects) it is not required of us to have a class about sexual health unless it is a part of your major’s requirements. There should be a wider range of education when it comes to sexual health for all college students. Sexual health is one of the most important subjects to teach because it will affect all students despite their chosen path in life (doctor, scientist, professional swimmer etc.). So I wish schools took it deeper and really explained more into what it is on all platforms.

Ready to share your story? Check out our next question at our 1Graf Friday homepage.

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Young Invincibles: Damaging House Labor-H Bill Passes Appropriations Committee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, July 14, 2016

CONTACT: Nina Smith, nina.smith@younginvincibles.org301-717-9006

Damaging House Labor-H Bill Passes Appropriations Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The House Appropriations Committee today passed the FY 2017 Labor-H Appropriations bill via a nearly party-line vote, which would cut Pell Grants and restrict the Department of Education’s ability to protect students from predatory education providers. It would completely eliminate funding for apprenticeships, child care for student parents, and health care access for millions of young adults.

Rory O’Sullivan, deputy director of Young Invincibles stated the following:

“The House Labor-H appropriations bill passed out of committee today ignores the barriers to opportunity facing millions of young people across the country. Slashing funding for education and child care could prevent young adults from establishing lasting careers, caring for their families, and boosting their earning potential with a college degree. At a time when our generation could become the first in American history worse off than our parents, this bill would put economic security further out of reach for millions.

The cuts in this bill are expansive.  Pell Grants would lose $1.3 billion, limiting access to college for eight million students seeking a postsecondary credential. The bill would zero-out funding for on-campus childcare essential for young parents seeking a degree – something that has enjoyed longstanding bipartisan support. It would also expose vulnerable students to deceptive, high-debt education providers with an outright repeal of the Gainful Employment rule.

Even as youth unemployment remains 40 percent above the national average, this bill eliminates already meager funding to support businesses hoping to establish and expand apprenticeship training programs that lead to well-paid jobs and productive employees. Finally, the bill would defund aspects of the ACA critical to ensuring health care access for millions of young people.

Students and working families count on these resources to make a better life for themselves and for their families. We commend Members of the Committee who stood up in support of smart investments that help Americans achieve economic security.  And we remain hopeful that Congress can find common ground that ensures access to a quality, affordable higher education, health care coverage for millions of young adults, and alternative pathways to essential workforce credentials in future spending agreements.”

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Got Transitions Forms National Young Adult Transition Advisory Group

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: Dan Beck (202.223.1500, dbeck@thenationalalliance.org)

Washington, D.C. (June 22, 2016) – Got Transition/Center for Health Care Transition Improvement is pleased to announce the formation of a new National Young Adult Transition Advisory Group. Twelve young adults with and without disabilities between the ages of 18-25 have been chosen to advise Got Transition on young adult perspectives on the important transition from pediatric to adult health care services. Members of the Advisory Group are diverse in their ages, geographic locations, and ethnic backgrounds. They represent a unique group of national and state organizations, including Able South Carolina’s Center for Independent Living, Bacchus/Furman University, California Department of Social Services, Foster Club, Kids as Self Advocates, Special Olympics International, The Arc, United Cerebral Palsy, Young Invincibles, and Youth Move National.

As part of the National Young Adult Transition Advisory Group, these twelve members will ensure that young adult perspectives are included in Got Transition’s plans moving forward. They will provide a critical voice in reviewing tools designed to educate and inform young adults on the importance of health care transition. The Advisory Group members will guide Got Transition’s social media and other communication platforms to relay important health care transition-related messages and resources to youth and young adults nationwide, and will help strengthen Got Transition’s partnerships with their organizational affiliates.

Got Transition is dedicated to expanding the availability of high quality health care transition services in pediatric and adult health care practices and health plans. It is committed to involving young adults in designing transition strategies and producing materials and messages. Through quarterly conference calls, virtual trainings, and leadership development, Got Transition’s new National Young Adult Transition Advisory Group will play a critical role in ensuring that the voices of young adult consumers are heard in the development of health care transition resources and processes. Through the Advisory Group’s contributions, Got Transition will be able to better support the positive health outcomes of young adults as they transition to adulthood.


Got Transition/Center for Health Care Transition Improvement is a cooperative agreement between the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health. Our aim is to improve transition from pediatric to adult health care through the use of new and innovative strategies for health professionals and youth and families. For more information, go to www.GotTransition.org and follow Got Transition on Facebook and Twitter. 

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Young Invincibles Applauds Gov. Brown’s Signature on Groundbreaking Law Seeking Health Care Expansion Waiver

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2016

CONTACT
Nina Smith, Nina.Smith@younginvincibles.org301-717-9006

Young Invincibles Applauds Gov. Brown’s Signature on Groundbreaking Law Seeking Health Care Expansion Waiver

Historic legislation would expand access to the state’s health insurance marketplace for thousands of young Californian immigrants and DACA recipients


LOS ANGELES — Gov. Jerry Brown today signed SB 10 into law, a measure that will take California closer to making health care coverage available to all Californians. The new law seeks federal approval that would allow all Californians, regardless of immigration status, to buy health insurance at full price through the state’s health marketplace. California is now the first to state to apply for such a waiver since the Affordable Care Act’s enactment. 

Young Invincibles, a research and advocacy group dedicated to improving health care for young adults, applauded the governor and state legislature for making California a national leader in providing all young adults and young families with access to coverage.“The passage of SB10 corrects a longstanding injustice in our health care system by giving thousands of hardworking young people and young families in California the ability to purchase quality coverage,” said Gustavo Herrera, Western Regional Director for Young Invincibles. “Mixed status families fare better when they are able to shop around and purchase health insurance together. And thanks to the efforts of young activists, supporters, and leaders like Governor Brown and Senator Lara, we’ve made that possible. Today we move closer to achieving health care for all people, regardless of their immigration status.”

Under the law signed by Gov. Brown, the state will apply for a State Innovation Waiver found in section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to offer full-price health plans in Covered California to immigrants who are currently shut out of the state marketplace. California is now the first to state to apply for such a waiver since the ACA’s enactment.

Momentum to sign this historic bill was bolstered by immigrant and health advocates who attended last month’s Health4All Conference & Lobby Day in Sacramento, and by statewide advocacy from community members, who called on Governor Brown to sign SB 10. The bill also builds on the recent implementation of SB 75, or “Health4All Kids,” which expands full-scope comprehensive Medi-Cal for low-income undocumented children under the age of 19.

Mr. Herrera added,“YI will remain a part of the Health for All campaign to ensure the voices and perspectives of young adults and young families are included in the debate around health care in California. We will work until everyone is covered, and no Californian is locked out of healthcare because of where they were born.”

Young Invincibles is a national organization committed to elevating the voices of young adults, ages 18 to 34, and expanding economic opportunity for the Millennial generation. Young Invincibles ensures that young adults are represented in today’s most pressing societal debates through cutting-edge policy research and analysis, and innovative campaigns designed to educate, inform and mobilize our generation to change the status quo.

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Our Families Deserve a Choice: My Day Rallying with Health4All Activists

Health4All Rally

 

Update: After this blog was posted Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 10 into law, a measure that will take California closer to making health care coverage available to all Californians. Read the full release here.

I was excited to meet Young Invincibles, a group that shared the same enthusiasm as me on the issues that affect such a large part of California’s working class. As a resident, student, and advocate in California, I was eager to join the fight for something that matters to our community and economy: supporting Senate Bill 10, which expands access to the healthcare marketplace for thousands of Californians regardless of their immigration status.

Californians face incredible barriers when it comes to finding quality health care, especially for more than one million of the state’s undocumented residents. Language in the Affordable Care Act  prevents undocumented people from receiving financial assistance to get covered, which leaves a significant demographic at risk, and also cuts entire families–some mixed status, some not–out of options to receive the medical care they need.  SB 10 is a step in the right direction, enabling Californians to shop for health care, an option that is a luxury to millions. To me, passing SB 10 grants many of California’s families a necessary safety net.

The Health4All Coalition leadership and training conference met in Sacramento, where I came across many other students, both undergrad and graduate, who all had their own stories about health care and sense of social responsibility. Through my activities and participation, I realized that social changes all come step by step with large groups of support; it takes an army of advocates to move even an inch forward. Being a part of something that is bigger than myself, organizing with people dedicated to opening up access to health care for all Californians, was a great inspiration. With my eyes open and ears active, we marched to the Capitol. During the walk, I came out of my comfort zone and I felt my strength build up. As I approached the Capitol building, I saw one or two people holding signs for other causes, and I couldn’t help but think they needed young advocates to represent them and advance their own missions.

Our rally was peaceful, yet effective. We weren’t fighting, but rather passionately supporting a decision that needs to be made by state government. We weren’t breaking down walls or asserting our aggression; we were walking into the offices of elected officials from our regions that mostly support the health care equity that comes from this bill. If you look at the dedication, sacrifices, and successes of this cause, you see that the time is now to support SB10. We have seen this bill pass in our Senate, and we will continue to advocate until we see all of California’s families get access to care. With continued support, critical thinking, and great enthusiasm, we can mobilize movements–even just an inch–to improve our future for generations.

Alyssia Hogue is an economics student graduating from Los Angeles City College in June 2016, and transferring to University of California Davis in fall 2016.

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How Motherhood Made Me an Advocate

Sade2

The goal was to keep promoting parties after college. It wasn’t the most stable strategy, but I’ve been doing it since I was 17. I could excite a crowd, make friends out of strangers in the time it took to hand over a flyer. I knew how to spread a message. It was shortsighted, but it was familiar, and it was enough. Until, of course, I had my daughter.

Mia was never part of the plan, but propelled bigger plans into motion. I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant, and unemployed. The country had gone into a recession, and the safety net I’d taken for granted swiftly unraveled beneath me. I always had a parent to navigate adulthood for me, who made it look easy to make a doctor’s appointment or keep every bill in order. But after my first visit to apply for Medicaid, I knew motherhood would come with great turbulence. I showed up at the DC Department of Human Services at 9 am not knowing what to expect, only to find a waitlist of more than 100 people. I spoke with an employee, who snapped that I should have been there two hours earlier to expect any service. I tried again another day and completed my paperwork. I stumbled through the next steps of finding a clinic with no one’s help, and finally met with a nurse practitioner near the end of my first trimester. While it was unfair, the massive lack of resources seemed entirely unnecessary and avoidable. I know I’m not the only young mother to struggle with a system that refused to accommodate me.

My advocacy began with volunteering at the clinic that assisted me through my pregnancy. I wanted to assist other parents in the way I never was. I also started taking community college courses, and was fortunate to have teachers who allowed me to bring my daughter to class. I was hired at the clinic as a breastfeeding peer counselor a year after I started volunteering, and my job was incredibly understanding when I needed time with Mia. By the next year, I was promoted to Family Services Manager. Most of the mothers I worked with didn’t have the same luxuries. Our most vulnerable populations don’t have access to paid family leave, and have had to use sick leave to spend time with their newborns. Or worse yet—are terminated from their jobs for starting a family. I’ve met mothers as young as teenagers who returned to work less than a week after giving birth for fear they’d lose their only source of income. This doesn’t allow enough time for their bodies to heal after birth, or establish a relationship with their newborn. The lack of resources and protective laws is not only destructive to families, but harmful to new parents’ health as well.

My own experiences and similar stories from other moms turned my frustrations into action. It’s why I’m an advocate now, helping residents of low-income neighborhoods navigate the health care system and demanding policymakers to let parents reach their full potential through initiatives like Paid Family Leave and the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, a federally funded child care service offered to young parents on college campuses. Like I said before, I know how to spread a message—I’ve been doing it since I was 17. I’ve just traded late night raves for early evening public hearings.

It’s why I’m proud to celebrate Mother’s Day this year. I want my daughter to see the impact she’s made on my life, and why I’ve been pushing so hard. I’m 30 now, and the constant turbulence has slowed down to occasional bumps in the road. But for many others, that winding journey has only started, and I’m committed to providing the support they need to care for their children and to ultimately be successful.

 

Sade Moonsammy is Young Invincibles’ State Organizing Manager and a doula. As a Millennial parent, Sade is passionate about being an advocate and connecting new families and single mothers to the health care resources, education, and social services they need.

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Young Invincibles Celebrates Supreme Court Ruling to Protect Affordable Care: Another Six Million Uninsured Millennials Can Get Covered With Tax Credits


Work Continues to Expand Access for Young Immigrants and Low-Income People

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 25, 2015

Contact: Sarah Lovenheim, sarah.lovenheim@younginvincibles.org

(Washington) — Following today’s Supreme Court ruling on King v. Burwell, Young Invincibles’ Executive Director Jen Mishory released the following statement:

“Today, the Supreme Court upheld the availability of tax credits in all states, a decision that will impact millions of people, but one that we know will disproportionately impact young adults. Millennials are more likely to be low income and qualify for tax credits; now, huge numbers of young people currently enrolled can keep their tax credits, and another six million Millennials who don’t have coverage can enroll and receive that discount.

“Young adults, age 18 to 34 years-old, end up in the emergency room more than any other age group, except the elderly – making today’s ruling essential to our health and financial security.

“Today we celebrate, but our work isn’t over. Some young immigrants and low-income people in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid still lack access to affordable care. Going forward, we’ll continue to advocate to expand access, work to make sure that our generation knows how to navigate the health system, and educate young people on the coverage options that were protected today.”

Please be in touch to speak with a policy expert.

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These States Are Making Sure Your Private Health Information Is Actually Private

By Riana King

Magen, a young woman on her parent’s insurance, visited her doctor to get vaccinated for HPV. Magen was relieved; getting the vaccine meant lowering her risk  of becoming one of 20 million Americans who are infected with the virus. Unfortunately, Megan’s peace of mind was short lived — she worried that her parents might find out she had been vaccinated and wouldn’t agree with her decision.

Magen isn’t alone. Millions of dependents on health insurance plans held in another person’s name, such as young adults on their parent’s plan or a partner or spouse’s plan, do not have the same level of privacy as individuals on their own insurance plan.

Policyholders often get notice after anyone on their insurance plan accesses health services, such as STD screenings or mental health care.

Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, an estimated 15 million young adults have become dependents on a parent’s health insurance plan and even more have joined a spouse or partner’s health plans. This represents a huge leap forward in closing the health coverage gap, but many of these new dependents don’t know of a little loophole that is exposing their private health information.

Under consumer protection law, many health insurance companies are required to send confidential health information –such as services you received, with a notice about when –to the policyholder, as part of regular health insurance communications.

This means that as a dependent, your private health information is not really private.

Image from Guttmacher Institute

Currently there are only 10 states that have provisions to protect the confidentiality of individuals insured as dependents. California recently passed the Confidential Health Information Act, allowing dependents to submit a request to have their health information sent directly to them instead of the policyholder.

Colorado, Maryland and Washington state also allow dependents to request confidential communications. New York and Wisconsin dependents don’t have to worry about information about any free services they use being shared, and can have information about other serves they use sent directly to them instead of the policyholder. And in Connecticut, Delaware and Florida, dependent’s STI testing can be kept confidential.

While the remaining 40 states delay making moves to keep dependent’s health information confidential, there are millions of people across the U.S. who are afraid to seek screenings, testing, prescriptions and other sensitive health treatments.

In order to prioritize the health and safety of millions of Americans, states should seriously prioritize the confidentiality of individuals insured as dependents. To find out more about the confidentiality laws in your state, click here.

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Pressure Builds for Secretary Burwell to Expand Access to Maternity Coverage Year-Round

54 U.S. Representatives, More Than 50,000 People and 32 Advocacy Groups Call on HHS to Create a Special Enrollment Period for Pregnancy

[WASHINGTON] — More than 50,000 people and 32 state and national health advocates called on the US Department of Health & Human Services to issue immediate guidance to classify pregnancy as a qualifying life event for special enrollment.

Today’s activities come on the heels of more than 37 Senators and 54 House members writing to Secretary Burwell, asking that the Department do more to help pregnant women access health care coverage year-round.

“The Department of Health & Human Services has demonstrated a willingness to break from insurance industry practices that did not advance public health,” said Christina Postolowski, Health Policy Manager at Young Invincibles. “We hope that it will hear the pleas of a growing chorus calling on them to exercise the same leadership.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), who led the House letter, stressed the urgency of this request from congressional colleagues.

“The number of health advocates, members of Congress, and average Americans calling for this change highlights the importance of this issue and should inspire special urgency for the Department of Health and Human Services,” said Rep. Watson Coleman (NJ-12). “Making sure pregnant women can get the care they need will improve health outcomes for millions of mothers and their babies­, and I hope HHS will take steps to implement this change as quickly as possible.”

Groups participating in the joint petition effort include Daily Kos, RH Reality Check and UltraViolet and Young Invincibles. The letter by health advocates to Secretary Burwell includes support from dozens of other groups, such as Families USA, Moms Rising, National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and Planned Parenthood.

Last month, Young Invincibles released a report, called Without Maternity Coverage, highlighting the devastating financial and health consequences of being unable to access maternity coverage for pregnant women. When asked about the issue after the release of the report, Secretary Burwell said that the Department has based what it classifies as a qualifying life event for special enrollment by following insurance industries guidelines for enrollment opportunities.

Please be in touch if you would like a copy of the House letter, or to speak with one of our policy experts.

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These 37 senators just called on the Obama Administration to help pregnant women

By Jessica Adair

On Tuesday, 37 senators called for women who become pregnant to be able to enroll in maternity coverage year-round.

Currently, women who are uninsured or have a health plan that does not offer maternity coverage (yes, they still exist) and become pregnant could be stranded and stuck with tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills — on top of dangerous health risks.

For years, advocates have pressured the Department of Health and Human Services to allow pregnant women year-round access to health insurance enrollment. Last month, HHS Secretary Burwell offered a glimmer of hope, stating she was “happy to consider the issue.” Just days later, HHS issued a final rule stating that pregnant women would not be able to sign up for health insurance outside of the standard Open Enrollment period.

Allowing people to sign up for health insurance outside of the three-month Open Enrollment period is nothing new. People who experience certain life events are granted Special Enrollment periods, typically 60 days to sign up for a new plan. Turning 26 and losing coverage from a parent, getting married or divorced and moving are all examples of life events that would qualify for Special Enrollment.

Having a baby is another example of a qualifying life event. So, a woman without health coverage could enroll in health insurance as soon as her baby was born, but not prior to giving birth - meaning she could potentially miss out on nine months of prenatal care during her pregnancy.

The potential for disastrous health and financial consequences for women without maternity coverage cannot be overstated. Even without complications, prenatal care and delivery costs average $23,000. Considering that the median household income in the United States is $51,939, having a child could cost half of American families 44% or more of their yearly income.

More importantly, the need for maternity care is critical to women’s health. Maternal mortality is 3 to 4 times higher for pregnant women without maternity care than for those who access care. The United States currently has appallingly high maternal mortality rates, so awful that the treatment of pregnant women in this country has been deemed a “human rights failure” by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. At least half of these deaths are preventable.
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The Obama Administration has largely staked its legacy on expanding access to health care. Indeed, thanks in no small part to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the uninsurance rate has dropped to its lowest level in years. And the ACA has greatly increased the number of plans that include maternity coverage – which is now considered an Essential Health Benefit on all plans sold on the new health insurance marketplaces. It seems strange, then, that the Administration has hesitated to grant this vital special enrollment period.

Fortunately, the final rule isn’t necessarily final. Secretary Burwell has the authority to grant additional special enrollment periods. She can and should do so in this case. Already, thousands of people have joined with the senators to call for the creation of a special enrollment period. We ask that you, as well, join us to demand access to health care for pregnant women. Sign the petition today!

 

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