ObamaCare: Women's Health Services
ObamaCare Ensures Women Get Equal Health Care Rights and Improved Women's Health Services
How Does ObamaCare Benefit Women? ObamaCare gives 47 million women access to guaranteed preventive women's health services. Many of ObamaCare's women's health services were not covered in the past or only offered via co-pays or deductibles. Although many of ObamaCare's women's benefits have already gone into effect, many more will be rolled out over the following years. Aside from preventive services, women's benefits also include free wellness visits and provisions protecting women from gender discrimination. Find out more about ObamaCare and women's health services, and how the ObamaCare addresses others women's health issues.
Before the ACA only about 12 percent of plans sold in the individual market offered maternity coverage and women paid about $1 billion more than men each year for identical health plans in the individual market.
New Preventive Services for Women
Women across America will benefit from the new provisions and protections in the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). As of Aug. 1st, 2012, or at their next renewal date, women will have access to a large number of preventive services which will be completely covered by the insurance companies. These services include:
• Well-woman visits.
• Gestational diabetes screening that helps protect pregnant women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases.
• Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling.
• FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling.
• Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.
• HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older.
• Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women.
• HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women.
• Mammograms and Colonoscopies (since Sept 2010)
ObamaCare: Focusing on Preventive Services for Women
President Obama has made it clear, "ObamaCare doesn't regulate health care, it regulates health insurance". ObamaCare ensures women have access to preventive services. Providing better preventive care for women will help to bring down the cost of insurance by preventing health issues before they arise. The focus on wellness is in this same vein, helping to ensure that women stay healthy and avoid needing medical services.
ObamaCare Women's Health Fact: Over half the women in the United States have avoided or delayed preventive care due to cost.
Below is a infographic created right before the new ObamaCare Women's Health Benefits went into effect. Since then, millions of women have taken advantage of these new health benefits and health services.
New Health Care Benefits for Women
Not only does ObamaCare provide a number of required preventative and wellness services, it also contains a number of additional benefits. Here is a summary of new benefits and why they are important from Think Progress.
"1. Obamacare guarantees coverage of preventive services with no cost sharing. Preventive care promotes health and saves money. Yet many preventive care services are out of women's reach due to high co-pays, deductibles, and co-insurance. More than 50 percent of women have delayed seeking medical care due to cost, and one-third of women report forgoing basic necessities to pay for health care. But 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. Coverage for maternity care—health care that only women need—is routinely excluded in the individual insurance market. Only 12 percent of plans sold in the individual market even offer maternity coverage, which is frequently inadequate because of waiting periods or deductibles that can be as high as the cost of the birth itself. But once Obamacare 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. In today's insurance market, it is common for insurers to refuse to cover women because of gender-based "pre-existing conditions," such as having had a Cesarean section or being the victim of domestic violence or sexual assault. Thankfully, this practice will be outlawed under Obamacare in 2014. In the meantime, adults with pre-existing conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months can purchase affordable coverage through temporary Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans.
4. Women will no longer be charged more for their insurance coverage just for being women. Under a practice known as "gender rating," insurers currently charge women higher premiums than men for identical health benefits. As a result, women now pay $1 billion more than men each year for the same health plans in the individual market. 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. Already, women no longer need a referral to see their obstetrician-gynecologist thanks to Obamacare. And they get 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. This will help individuals who earn up to $43,000 per year and up to $92,200 for families of four. Also in 2014 up to 10.3 million women will gain insurance coverage when Medicaid expands its income eligibility to include people with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level—less than $15,000 for individuals and about $31,809 for a family of four in 2011. 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. Women are more likely than men to suffer from a chronic condition, and an unforeseen medical emergency or a chronic illness can cause an insured person to rapidly reach a coverage cap in their insurance plan, leaving enrollees to fend for themselves, sometimes with thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills. But under Obamacare 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 in Obamacare. Because women use health care services at higher rates on behalf of themselves and their families, ensuring just insurance practices is of critical importance. The Affordable Care Act 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. Policyholders and employers will receive approximately $1.3 billion in premium rebates this year alone.
9. Women in marginalized communities are seeing reforms that respond to their needs. Women of color, lesbian and bisexual women, and transgender people are disproportionately uninsured and subject to higher rates of health disparities. Obamacare 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. For instance, already an estimated 5.5 million African Americans, 6.1 million Latinos, 2.7 million Asians, and 0.3 million Native Americans, many of them women, have received preventive service coverage with no cost sharing under the health reform law.
10. Mothers have peace of mind, knowing that their children have health insurance. Obamacare 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, an especially helpful provision in this tough economy, where finding a job with benefits is challenging. Young women in particular report delaying needed health care because of high costs. To date, 2.5 million young adults have gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act."
The Healthy Teen Initiative to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
One provision of ObamaCare that will have an effect on young women across America is called "the Healthy Teen Initiative to Prevent Teen Pregnancy". This initiative is one of the most important, and most controversial aspects of ObamaCare. It is the focus on preventing teen pregnancy by using evidence based, medically scientifically accurate data, and methodologically sound research to:
(1) to delay initiation of sex;
(2) to decrease number of partners;
(3) to reduce teen pregnancy;
(4) to reduce sexually transmitted infection;
(5) to improve rates of contraceptive use.
Government funding goes to institutions who choose the accept the funds (you can deny the funds and providing the services on religious grounds). While some of the services are controversial, these services only comprise a small part of the bill. Much of the money spent on the Healthy Teen Initiative is meant to prevent STDs and provide education that helps prevent teen pregnancy, only a small portion is spent on controversial services.
ObamaCare Provides Affordable Access to Women's Services
ObamaCare provides women with affordable access to women's health services. While many services are provided free (with insurance), not all women's health preventive services are required to be covered by law. ObamaCare does however help to reduce the cost of many women's health services and expands coverage to more women.
ObamaCare Women's Health Fact: ObamaCare prohibits health plans from requiring a referral from a primary care provider before seeking coverage for obstetrical or gynecological (OB-GYN) care from a participating OB-GYN specialist.
ObamaCare and Contraception
When it comes to women and ObamaCare, one thing that cannot be ignored is the issue of contraception. Contraception can cost women up to $600 a month out of pocket, the results of health service not being available to all women equal has had a great effect on pregnancy, STDs and a number of other related issues.
While you may not agree with women taking contraceptives, it's important to note that ObamaCare takes women's health care out of the hands of insurance companies and puts it back into their own hands. Giving women access to contraception gives women the right to choose and increases their economic security.
ObamaCare and Women's Right to Health Care
Women have gained significant rights and control over their health care from ObamaCare. It's up to each women to decide for herself if she supports the program. Here are some things you should be aware of:
1. Insurance companies will try to grandfather you in to plans that don't cover treatments mandated by ObamaCare. Although all new plans will have to cover wellness and preventive services for women, older plans can "grandfather you in" to plans that don't cover these services.
2. Most of the ObamaCare's guaranteed services, which help 47 million American women get better access to better healthcare, aren't controversial at all. Think about what you stand against and what you are for. Standing against the whole bill for a small portion of it may not be your best course of action.
Women's Health Services and ObamaCare in Summary
With 47 million women receiving unprecedented coverage of preventive services, wellness services and access to more comprehensive and fairer priced insurance you would assume that just about every woman in America would support the bill. You would be wrong in this assumption. Many women oppose the bill. In fact 33% of Americans (men and women) still want to see the bill repealed.
If you support the Women's Health Services in ObamaCare, get the word out and help others to understand them too.
If you disagree with aspects of ObamaCare and how it affects women, make sure you are fighting against a specific aspect of the bill. Remember ObamaCare benefits millions of Women across the United States. Thanks for learning about ObamaCare and women's health services.