Some 32 million people (a majority women) will gain access to health care insurance coverage including 16 million people (also a majority women) who will gain access through Medicaid.
Subsidies to purchase coverage
- About three-fourths of people who purchase through the insurance exchanges (those with incomes between 133% and 400% of poverty) will receive a federal subsidy to help pay for the coverage.
- By 2014 at the latest, insurers will be banned from “gender rating,” or charging women higher premiums than men for the same coverage, both for individual policies and for employer group plans with fewer than 100 employees. In most states, women with individual plans pay on the average some 48% higher premiums than men for the same health insurance coverage.
No Co-Pays or Deductibles for Preventive Care including Birth Control
- Every new insurance policy is required to include the basic preventive health care package without any co-pays or deductibles. As recommended by the Institutes of Medicine, this includes pap smears, mammograms, birth control, STI/STD testing, well woman checkups, immunizations and other preventive care.
Discrimination Based on Pre-Existing Conditions Eliminated
- Exclusions for pre-existing conditions were immediately eliminated for children in 2010, and will be eliminated in 2014 for adults. This will prevent the exclusion of coverage for women who have “pre-existing conditions” such as pregnancy, prior injuries caused by domestic violence, the second or subsequent Caesarian delivery, re-occurrence of breast cancer, etc. A temporary high risk insurance pool program is available to cover eligible adults with pre-existing conditions until 2014.
Bans Insurers from Dropping Coverage Because of Illness
Mandatory Coverage of Maternity Care and Specific Health Services
- Beginning January 1, 2014, individual and small employer plans must cover at a minimum a comprehensive package of “essential health benefits” including, for example, pre-natal and maternity care, prescription drug coverage, mental health care, and pediatric care (including oral and vision care). Currently 87 percent of individual health insurance plans exclude maternity coverage.
Mental Health Parity
Benefits for Older People
- Medicare guaranteed benefits are not reduced.
- Beginning in 2011, Medicare now covers the full cost of preventive care, including cancer screenings, annual physical examinations and immunizations.
- The Medicare prescription drug “Donut Hole” will be gradually eliminated, starting with a $250 payment to beneficiaries in 2010 and a 50% discount on Medicare Part D prescription drug costs. By 2020, payments by beneficiaries will be reduced to 25% of drug costs in the gap.
Ban on Discrimination against Lower Paid Employees
- Employers will not be allowed to provide inferior plans with less coverage to their lower-paid workers, who are more likely to be women and people of color.
Addresses National Nursing and Primary Care Physicians Shortage
- The law increases the numbers of nursing education slots, providing loan repayments and retention grants and offering grants for employment and training of family nurse practitioners. It provides scholarships, loan programs and bonus payments to private care physicians and general surgeons. It also expands health accessibility by doubly the capacity of community health centers. New programs will increase support for school-based and nurse-managed health centers.
(Added the asterisk in the title, because a lot of this stuff applies to people with uteruses who don’t ID as women.)
By Annie-Rose Strasser on Jun 20, 2012 at 1:10 pm
Between 1990 and 2008, pregnancy and abortion rates for women in their twenties dropped dramatically, a new study revealed today. Pregnancy rates fell by 18 percent, while abortion rates dropped by a third.
One of the biggest influencing factors in this decrease is the growing accessibility, use, and options for birth control. Contraceptive use is the best way to prevent abortions in the U.S. Over time, young women have gotten greater access to a larger number of pregnancy prevention methods. The study explains two main causes in the drop:
The introduction of new contraceptive methods and discontinuation of existing ones and]changes in the use of existing methods: the proportion of women using any method, the methods used, and how consistently and effectively they are used.
Indeed, only 70 percent of women (PDF) who started having sex between 1990 and 1994 used protection, whereas 84 percent did between 2005 and 2008:
And President Obama’s new policy that expands access to birth control will help ensure that more women can get contraception when they need it.
Currently, over half of pregnancies are unintended in the United States. Growing access to prevention methods will lead to a decrease in such unintended pregnancies. Other factors — including the trend toward getting married at an older age — also contribute to the pregnancy drop for 20-somethings.
Why do so many women end up on the pill when it fails them?
Women overestimate the effectiveness of the Pill and condoms — the two most popular methods of birth control in this country — according to a new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. After the study group of 4,100 women was counseled about other methods of birth control, such as IUDs, 71 percent chose to go on that or an implant. The findings suggest that many women choose the Pill because they don’t receive thorough counseling about their other birth control options or the true effectiveness of the Pill — which isn’t as great as pharmaceutical companies tell you it is.
This helps explain why the most popular methods of contraception in this country are the birth control Pill and condoms — if you don’t know all the information about all the methods of contraception available to you, why would you choose the one you know the least about? What many women don’t know about the Pill is that only if you take it exactly according to the manufacturer’s instructions, including at the same time every day, that your chances of getting pregnant are 0.3 percent. But for whatever reason — business or forgetfulness — many women don’t take the Pill exactly according to the instructions, bringing its real failure rate to a rather startling 9 percent, according to Dr. Nancy Stanwood, obstetrician/gynecologist and board member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health. That means that nearly one out of 10 women will get pregnant while taking the Pill over the course of a year.