The Affordable Care Act and Its Impact on Women and Children–

From the beginning of the discussion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there was a good bit of talk in some circles, that it was for the “others.” Sadly we are drifting into a society where there is a focus on a “them versus us” mentality. Named “Obamacare” by detractors, there was an attempt to manipulate thinking in such a way that if you didn’t like the person for whom it was named, you didn’t like the plan. Not everyone knew about the plan itself. Here in an article by Ara Siegel, the plan is described. Note, as it is being attacked by detractors, how much the plan benefits women and children who, in fact, should be considered as “all of us.” There are no “others.”
7 Ways Obamacare Impacts Women and Families
You’ve heard about the Affordable Care Act, but what changes affect you, your family or your caregiver?
There’s been a lot of talk about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare.” But when it comes down to it, how many of us can get past the bureaucracy and legal jargon to truly understand if this law can help our families? The ACA provides benefits for women and families (maternity coverage!) that might help you. And considering women make about 80% of health care decisions for their families, we’re decoding Obamacare so you don’t have to. Here are seven things to consider:
1. Access–The ACA created a mandate that generally all employers with over 50 full-time employees (over 30 hours/week) provide health coverage for their workers. If you do not receive insurance though an employer then you can purchase it on the Health Insurance Marketplace, where you can choose a private health plan that fits your needs as well as learn if you qualify for certain subsidies.
The ACA also allows states to expand Medicaid eligibility, meaning more access to quality care for all kinds of families, such as those with disabled children, or who are low-income (one in five Americans gets their health care through Medicaid).
2. Affordability–Under the ACA’s new 80/20 rules, at least 80 cents of every dollar insurance companies spend must go towards your healthcare or improvements to care. Women and families who could not afford healthcare in the past have new access to affordable coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace which offers a range of plans in every state. And if insurance companies want to raise your premiums by more than 10 percent, they must publicly justify their actions.
3. Young Adults–Young adults can now stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until age 26.
4. Gender and Illness Up-Charges–Insurers can no longer put a lifetime cap on how much care they will pay if you get sick, and health insurers can no longer charge you more because you are a woman. Before the Affordable Care Act was law, a majority of states had best-selling plans that engaged in gender rating. For example, a 25-year-old woman could be expected to pay 81 percent more for health insurance than a man, even for a plan that did not include maternity coverage.
5. Pre-Existing Conditions–It is now illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, such as having had breast cancer or being pregnant. Previously, a woman without health insurance might get pregnant or find a lump and not be able to receive coverage because she had a “pre-existing condition.”
6. Preventive Health Benefits–Most health plans are now required to cover preventive services without making you pay a copay or deductible. Such services include things like: well-woman visits, mammograms, FDA-approved birth control, vaccinations for your child, domestic violence counseling, testing for gestational diabetes and breastfeeding supplies. And all plans offered through the Marketplace must cover a package of essential health benefits, which include maternity and newborn care.
7. Maternity Care–All insurance plans sold on the Insurance Marketplace cover maternity care. Just a few years ago, 68 percent of enrollees in individual market plans lacked maternity coverage, considering that in 2012, the average hospital bill–for each of the 3 million plus women who delivered babies without complications–was more than $23,000.
Navigating the healthcare system can be a challenge, but it’s extremely important to be educated about your rights when it comes to one of the most important things: your health and the health of your family.
Fondly submitted,
The Diversity Committee

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