The Affordable Care Act and Women – Two Years On And Working StrongPosted March 21st, 2012 by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
There’s been a lot said and written about the Affordable Care Act – the landmark health care legislation that President Obama signed into law two years ago this week. But what you may not have heard is that this law is especially helpful to women and in particular, women of color who face certain barriers when trying to access a health care provider.
Women have unique health care needs and often make health care decisions for their families. The ACA safeguards women by providing insurance options, ensuring preventive services are covered and lowering costs. The law’s benefits for women will have positive results for families.
In the past, insurance companies could deny coverage to women due to pre-existing conditions such as cancer and pregnancy. Under the law, it is already illegal to deny coverage to our children under the age of 19 who have pre-existing conditions like asthma, and by 2014 it will be illegal to deny anyone coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more than 20 million women with private health insurance are receiving expanded preventive services with no cost-sharing, including mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and prenatal care. That means that many of us will be able to access the care we need to stay healthy, including lifesaving procedures. And, in 2014, insurers will not be able to charge us higher premiums than they charge men.
Thanks to the ACA, women are being liberated from the dreadful decision between paying for care, or feeding and clothing their families. The law requires new health plans to provide preventive services, including flu shots and vaccinations, cost-free. Regular well-baby and well-child visits are also covered with no co-pay or co-insurance from birth through age 21, and our adult children can even remain on our health plans up to age 26.
And very importantly, when the health exchanges are up and running in 2014, those without health insurance now will have affordable options available to them.
Starting in two years, low-income Americans will be eligible for Medicaid and middle-income people can be eligible for tax credits through the exchanges to help pay for private coverage. This is especially important since one of the biggest factors hindering health care for women of color is cost and not having a regular doctor.
Women are the backbone of a strong and healthy family. Preventative care made accessible by the ACA will help more of us avoid those health problems and keep our husbands and children well.
As we mark the second anniversary of the ACA, it is important that we take note of those portions of the law already benefitting us. And it is important that we commit to forging ahead to ensure that the full benefit of this landmark legislation is realized in the coming years to protect the livelihoods of all of us and our families.
To find out more about the ACA and women, click here.