Only one year after the landmark legislation was signed, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is already improving women’s access to high quality, affordable health care. When the law is fully implemented in 2014, it will signify the greatest leap forward for American women’s health in decades.
New protections for women under the ACA include:
• Improved Access to Affordable Coverage: Under the ACA, adolescents and young adults up to age 26 may now remain on their families’ plans. Due to substantial new tax credits, more small businesses are now offering health care coverage to their employees. And beginning in 2014, expanded Medicaid eligibility means improved access to healthcare coverage for lower income women and families.
• Free Preventive Care: Under the ACA, women receive recommended preventive services without copayments or deductibles. This includes U.S. Preventive Services Task Force A- and B-rated services such as mammograms, screenings for cervical cancer and chlamydia, prenatal care and more.
• The End of Gender-Based Discrimination: Before the ACA, women could be charged higher premiums than men for the same insurance policy. Beginning in 2014, it will be illegal for insurance companies to charge women higher premiums on the basis of gender.
• Being a Woman is No Longer a Pre-Existing Condition: Before the ACA became law, insurers could deny women coverage for “pre-existing conditions” such as pregnancy, Cesarean sections, and breast cancer. Beginning in 2014, insurers cannot deny coverage to anyone based on pre-existing conditions. Already under the ACA, children cannot be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
• The End of Lifetime Limits: Under the ACA, insurance companies cannot place a lifetime limit on the amount of coverage an individual receives. Beginning in 2014, annual limits are banned as well.
For more information about the important rights and benefits the ACA provides for women and their families, see healthcare.gov’s new page on Women and the Affordable Care Act.