Friday, May 25, 2012

What Women Gain from the ACA

As the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act draws closer we wanted to remind you of some of the things women stand to gain from the ACA as highlighted by the Center for American Progress.

1. The ACA guarantees coverage of preventive services with no cost sharing. Under the health reform law, insurers are now required to cover recommended preventive services such as mammograms, Pap smears, and well-baby care without cost sharing. More than 45 million women have already taken advantage of these services. And starting this August more services, including contraception, gestational diabetes screening, and breastfeeding supports, will be added to the list of preventive care that must be covered at no additional cost.

2. Maternity care will be required in new insurance plans. Once is fully implemented in 2014, about 8.7 million women will have guaranteed access to maternity care in all new individual and small group plans.

3. Women will no longer be denied insurance coverage for gender-related reasons. No longer can insurance companies deny a woman coverage for having a Cesarean section or being a survivor of domestic violence, both of which they currently can considered a pre-existing condition.

4. Women will no longer be charged more for their insurance coverage just for being women. As of 2014, however, under the Affordable Care Act, gender rating will become illegal in all new individual and small group plans.

5. Women have more control over their health care. Thanks to provisions already in place under the ACA women no longer need a referral to see their obstetrician-gynecologist. They also will be able to choose their primary care physician and their child’s pediatrician from their plan’s list of participating providers.

6. Women will gain better access to affordable health insurance. Starting in 2014 women and their families, as well as small businesses, will receive tax credits on an income-based sliding scale to help purchase insurance coverage. The health law also eliminates Medicaid’s categorical requirements, so that low-income women who meet the income requirements can be enrolled even if they have no children and are not pregnant.

7. Insurance companies can no longer place limits on the amount of money they’ll spend on covered medical expenses. Under the ACA lifetime coverage caps have been eliminated and annual limits are being phased out. Approximately 39.5 million women have already benefited from the ban on lifetime caps.

8. Women and their families benefit from critical consumer protections. The ACA has already eliminated the practice of “rescission,” when an insurance policy ends the moment a beneficiary gets sick. The health law also requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on actually providing health care, as opposed to administrative costs, or pay enrollees a rebate.

 9. Women in marginalized communities are seeing reforms that respond to their needs. The ACA is making critical strides in providing vulnerable women with quality health care through increased access to insurance coverage, increased funding for community health centers, promoting health literacy and cultural competency, prohibiting discrimination in the health insurance market, and improving data collection.

10. Mothers have peace of mind, knowing that their children have health insurance. The ACA prohibits insurers from denying coverage to children under age 19 because of pre-existing conditions and adult children can now stay on a parent’s plan up to age 26.

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