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President Obama’s health reform law requires that new health insurance plans cover preventive services with no co-pay or deductible. In the last 18 months, approximately 20.4 million women with private health insurance have received preventive health services such as mammograms and pap smears at no additional cost because of this provision in the Affordable Care Act.
Besides improving access to services that help women stay healthy and detect health problems early on, here are more ways the law helps women:
- Soon, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing condition. Before the Affordable Care Act became law, insurance companies selling individual policies could deny coverage to women due to “pre-existing conditions,” such as having cancer and being pregnant. In 2014, it will be illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against anyone with a pre-existing condition, including women. Already, insurance companies are banned from denying coverage to children because of a pre-existing condition.
- Women Have a Choice of Doctor. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, all Americans in new insurance plans have the freedom to choose from any primary care provider, OB-GYN, or pediatrician in their health plan’s network, or emergency care outside of the plan’s network, without a referral.
- Women Pay Lower Health Care Costs. Before the law, women could be charged more for individual insurance policies simply because of their gender. A 22-year-old woman could be charged 150% the premium that a 22-year-old man paid. In 2014, insurers will not be able to charge women higher premiums than they charge men. In addition, the law takes strong action to control health care costs, including helping States crack down on excessive premium increases and making sure most of your premium dollars go for your health care.