The news story currently dominating headlines and trending at various places on the internet has to do with the Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare by the media. While everyone seems to have some or other opinion to offer about the act, what does it mean to women’s health? What will change and will that change be for the better?
What the health care reforms mean to American women
Firstly, many more women will be brought into the insured category than previously. As many as 19 million uninsured women will become insured thanks to the new health care reforms.
According to Forbes.com, women currently have to pay more for health insurance than men. Though many states have banned this discrimination, in states that haven’t banned the practice, more than 90% of the most popular health care plans charge women more than men. Only 3% of plans cover maternity services. The plans charge more even when maternity services are not part of the plan.
There is an estimated $1 billion extra cost to women because of these insurance practices. So, one of the most significant achievements of the reforms will be the elimination of the gender gap or bias with regard to health insurance coverage.
Other positives for women’s health
Preventive health care for women will benefit a lot under the reformed law. Procedures such as pap smears, mammograms, domestic violence screening as well as cost of contraceptive devices will be covered without copay. According to estimates, this would mean that an 18 year old female could save as much as $ 11,842 over the course of her lifetime in just birth control and doctor’s visits.
Also other unfair provisions with regard to women’s health coverage will be eliminated. A C section is currently considered to be a ‘condition’ that impacts coverage and premiums. Considering that about one-third of all births are C sections this impacts a third of all women! Secondly women who have been victims of sexual abuse are also denied coverage because this also constitutes a preexisting condition.
Maternity care and nursing mothers also get a let up. Insurers will have to cover maternity and women will be entitled to breaks for expressing breast milk.
According to analysis of the new laws, women will benefit from them. Not only will women be entitled to better and more inclusive coverage, women will be able to save money and actually improve their bottom line with regard to health care costs.
Read more at http://www.womenhealthzone.com/editorials/womens-health/