President Barak Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law March 23, 2010. Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi summed up the significance of the act for women before it became law: “It’s personal for women. After we pass this bill, being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing medical condition.”
Proof of the unfair treatment of women lies in the cost of premiums. Before the ACA, a healthy 22-year-old woman could be charged premiums 150 percent higher than a 22-year-old man.
After a quick recap of how women benefit from the Affordable Care Act, we’ll explore how many people have been positively affected and take a look at one woman’s personal story.
Health Reform Benefits For Women
In a nutshell, the Affordable Care Act made health care affordable for women, put a stop to insurance companies discriminating based on gender, allowed for more preventative care, and provides insurance security for women should they lose their jobs, move, or become sick.
More specifically, this is how health care reform affects women. The ACA:
- Eliminates all lifetime limits on much insurance companies cover
- Bans insurance companies from dropping women from coverage when they get sick
- Prohibits insurance companies from denying women coverage because of a preexisting condition, excluding coverage of that preexisting condition, or charging more because of health status or gender
- Ensures coverage of prevention and basic health services, including maternity benefits
- Requires coverage of basic pediatric services under all new plans, including oral and vision needs, starting in 2014
By the Numbers
Even though not everything is in full effect from the passage of the ACA, it’s already made an impact.
- Approximately 20.4 million women with private health insurance have received preventative health care services like mammograms and pap smears at no additional cost in the last 18 months.
- An additional 2.5 million young adults ages 18 to 25 have gained health coverage since September 2010 as their moms breath sighs of relief. Previously, young adults were dropped from their parents’ insurance plans when they turned 18 or were no longer a full-time student leaving many without care.
- More than 3.8 million people in Texas with private health insurance received preventive service coverage with no cost sharing.
For a complete timeline of the Affordable Care Act’s rollout, visit the White House website.
One Mother’s Story
Vanessa Mishkit, a nurse in Tampa, bore a son 23 years ago. David was born with birth defects, making him developmentally delayed, legally blind, and near deaf.
After his birth Vanessa received letters from the insurance company, stating they he had met his lifetime limit of coverage at one million dollars and that he would no longer be eligible for continued coverage. Because he had a pre-existing condition, it was difficult to find insurance.
Vanessa is relieved that companies will no longer be able to discriminate because of any pre-existing conditions starting in 2014.
“There are thousands and thousands of families” that experience similar things, she said. “They can’t advocate for themselves at this time because they’re caught up in day-to-day survival.”
To hear her story, watch the video below.
Next week we’ll explore cons to healthcare reform with Will Healthcare Reform Negatively Affect the Quality of Care?