Table of Contents
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare made a number of changes to health insurance coverage for American women that took affect August 1, 2012. For over a year, American women with new health insurance have been entitled to a number of medical services without having to make co-payments, including:
- Annual well-woman visits.
- Gestational diabetes screening.
- Screening and counseling for domestic and interpersonal violence.
- Breastfeeding supplies and classes.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) screening for women 30 years and older.
- Contraceptive pills, devices, education, and counseling.
- HIV screening.
And on January 1, 2014, there will even more sweeping changes in health insurance coverage for American women.
1. Health insurance policies that do not cover preventive services will no longer be permitted under a loophole in the law.
Currently, insurance plans that were already in place by March 23, 2010 have been "grandfathered" so that they do not have to offer women's preventive healthcare services (such as contraception, which can cost up to $600 per month and well-woman visits). Under the law, any woman issued new health insurance coverage on or after August 1, 2012 has been entitled to 100% coverage of these services, but many companies have tried to "grandfather" even new policies. After January 1, 2014, all health insurance policies for women must pay 100% for preventive services, including contraception.
2. Women can no longer be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
Under current law, many women who have had a Caesarian section or who have filed a report of domestic violence cannot obtain any health insurance at all except from state health insurance risk-pools, and only after they have had no coverage for six months. When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, there will be no health conditions that keep women from obtaining health coverage.
3. Women's health insurance will include the cost of delivering a baby.
Under current law, health insurance companies can exclude coverage for giving birth or charge a deductible equal to its entire cost. When Obamacare is fully implemented, however, all individual and small-group health insurance plans for women will cover the costs of having a child.
4. Women will no longer be charged higher health insurance premiums just because they are women.
Currently, health insurance companies are allowed to set prices for policies in accordance with "gender rating," which allows the company to charge more for women's coverage at the same time certain medical procedures that are only used by women, the services of obstetricians and gynecologists, for example, aren't even covered by the policy. After January 1, 2014, women will pay the same for their coverage as men of the same age.