Women and the Affordable Care Act

February 7, 2014 Updated: February 6, 2014

1. More Health Care Use

Women generally have more contact with health care providers than men do, partly because they are family caregivers, partly because they have chronic conditions more often than men do, and partly because of childbearing.

2. More Sign Ups

So far, 54 percent of uninsured people who have signed up for health care under the ACA have been women.

3. No More Pre-Existing Condition Limits

Plans will no longer be allowed to deny coverage to pregnant women, or those who have been diagnosed with depression or experienced domestic violence.

4. Equitable Insurance Pricing for Men and Women

Insurance plans can no longer charge a woman a higher premium than a man of the same age.

5. Preventive Services

Insurance covers most recommended preventive services without any cost sharing. These include mammography, Pap smears, HPV vaccines, STI screening, and annual well woman visits.

6. Contraceptives Covered

The new law requires most private plans to cover all forms of prescription birth control (but not all brands) without any copay. Women with Medicaid also get birth control covered without cost sharing.

7. Maternity Care

Plans cover maternity services including childbirth, prenatal visits, and well-baby care. Most employer plans were already required to cover maternity care, but now you will also get prenatal visits and screenings, breast pump rentals, and breast-feeding counseling without any copay because they are considered preventive services. State Medicaid programs cover maternity care as well, but the specific services may vary from state to state.

8. Abortion Restrictions

Some states have banned abortion coverage from all plans in the marketplace while some allow it. State Medicaid programs typically limit abortion coverage to pregnancies that are a result of rape or incest, or in cases when the pregnancy is a threat to a woman’s life.

9. Direct Access to Ob-Gyns

If you have private insurance, most plans now must allow you to choose an ob-gyn as your primary provider, or see an ob-gyn for basic care without a referral.

To find out more about how the ACA could affect you, visit www.healthcare.gov.

Courtesy of the Kaiser Family Foundation

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