Sisters with Options (SWO)

Black Women for Wellness Sisters with OptionsSisters with Options provides strategies to empower and support women as advocates for themselves, their children and families in seeking and securing quality health services. 

Program Components:

  • Covered California – Outreach and Education: Our Covered CA certified staff engages with community members, leaders and advocates to raise public awareness about the new health insurance marketplace in response to the Affordable Care Act by providing presentations to help community members explore their health care option.
  • Education Program to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screenings (EPICS): In 2013, BWW partnered with Morehouse School of Medicine to educate community members on the importance of cancer screenings, working to save lives through creating awareness and early detection through proactive health choices. BWW also partnered with George Regents University in 2014.


Sisters with Options Strategies Include:

  • Increasing communication sharing among health care professionals;
  • Developing and implementing cultural and gender appropriate programs;
  • Supporting and empowering women to take leadership roles that advocate toward eliminating health disparities;
  • Publishing culturally relevant health information;
  • Researching and validating effective prevention strategies and tools, as well as documenting new health trends impacting well-being; and
  • Being an active listening voice concerning the health status of African American women.


Photos from SWO Events

More About Sisters with Options (SWO)

Sisters With Options (SWO) shares information on health care systems, trends and alternative and complementary health care. Sadly, Black women & girls experience health disparities that lead to poor health status, increased morbidity and premature death.

Sisters with Options (SWO) seeks to eliminate health disparities by

  • Informing and educating women and girls about numerous health options available to increase health and well-being;
  • Highlighting the historical barriers and obstacles to health information, services, care and treatment experienced by Black women & girls; and
  • Addressing policies and practices that isolate and marginalize women & girls by exasperating health disparity.

Critical to eliminating health disparity is empowering women and girls as team leaders in their own health and wellness. Sisters with Options works with the philosophy that women know their body and health status best. Health providers and insurance companies are our partners in preventing, securing, maintaining and restoring health.

Our objectives include sharing information and education to access health systems, develop and cultivate a culture compatible with western health methods of prevention and intervention. SWO provides strategies to problem solve and trouble shoot when issues arise as well as empower and support woman as advocates for themselves, children and families in seeking and securing quality health services.

Sisters With Options is our program created to share information and education as the Affordable Care Act is being implemented. Since January 1, 2014 most people over 18 years old are now required to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. Coverage may include insurance through your job, coverage you purchase, coverage from your parents, Medicare, or Medi-Cal. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) established state marketplaces where individuals, families and small businesses can shop for health insurance online, in-person, or by phone. California’s marketplace, Covered California, provides millions of Californians with access to a range of health insurance plan options.

What We Do SWO In Action

Our Covered California certified staff engages with community members, leaders and advocates who are committed to increasing African American and Black community access to health care and eliminating health disparities. Sisters with Options is delivering effective and personalized outreach and education where we live, work, learn, shop and pray.

BWW Sisters with Options Outreach Chart

  1. 45% of Black Women in LA County are at risk for heart disease *
  2. Black Women in LA County have the highest rate of obesity at 36% *
  3. 12.4% of Black Women in LA County 18 to 64 years are uninsured*
  4. 12.7% of Black Women in LA County have no regular source of health care*

*Health Indicators For Women In Los Angeles County Highlighting Disparities by Ethnicity and Poverty Level – June 2013

  • November 15 2014 – February 15 2015 – 

    Open Enrollment

Open enrollment is the period of time when consumers may select a health plan and enroll. Open enrollment usually happens once a year and allows all eligible consumers to enroll in or make changes to their insurance coverage.

Each health insurance company in the Covered California health insurance marketplace must comply with the important consumer protections set forth in the federal Affordable Care Act.

10 categories of Essential Health Benefits;

10 categories: ambulatory patient services; emergency services; hospitalization; maternity and newborn care; mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management; and pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

Tips on Choosing A Health Insurance Plan:   

  • Determine what your needs and your family needs are from a health plan;
  • Evaluate your health status and how often you will need to visit your providers;
  • Give thought about  who works best with your culture, gender, age and language and that of your family;
  • Learn about different types of health insurance plans and the level of coverage that best meets yours and your family’s health needs and your budget;
  • Through the marketplace, you’ll be able to choose a health place that gives you the right balance of costs and coverage;
  • Factor in the geographic location of the health plan facilities, associated hospitals and clinics, pharmacies and urgent care centers;
  • Consider which hospitals local plans are affiliated –it makes a difference if you become seriously ill;
  • Make a list of questions you have before it’s time to choose your health plan;
  • For example, “Can I stay with my current doctor?” Or if you if you prefer a physician of your same ethnicity, culture and or gender – which health plans offers a diversity of choice;
  • Make sure you understand how health insurance works, including deductibles, out-off-pocket maximums, copayments, etc;
  • Ask questions until you are clear on all of these details shopping the marketplace for health insurance coverage;
  • Set your budget.
  • There will be different types of health plans to meet a variety of needs and budgets, and breaking them down by cost can help narrow your choices
  • Gather basic information about you household income.
  • Find out from your employer whether they plan to offer health insurance, especially if you work for a small business and or non profit

Becoming Team Leader on Your Health Care :

  • Get to know your body inside & out;
  • Pay attention to you – when something changes note how it impacts you;
  • Trust your intuition;
  • Insist on the care YOU need, especially testing or treatments you feel essential;
  • Speak with authority – you know you best especially if you are paying attention;
  • Partner with a provider who listens, respects and works with you;
  • Be consistent – with your check ins and check ups;
  • Seek another opinion (even if you agree);
  • Appoint an advocate you trust to support you with any health care crisis;
  • Recruit team members who know you well, love you and are not easily intimidated.

Our work would not be possible without the support of our funders:

California Community Foundation /California Black Health Network /The California Wellness Foundation



BWW Event Calendar