Misleading CBS Reporting of Maternity Benefits in the Affordable Care Act
CBS recently aired a segment about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and new requirements that insurance plans must cover maternity care. But instead of focusing on women who will benefit, CBS interviewed a man who does not want his family’s insurance to include maternity coverage because they no longer need these services.
Let’s set the record straight. Health insurance does not work like an a la carte menu. You don’t get to decide that you don’t want to cover diabetes care because you aren’t at risk for diabetes, but do feel like covering cancer treatment given that your mom had breast cancer. Instead, health coverage pools your premium payments and your health care risks with everyone else’s premiums and health care risks—and therefore protects you against the health costs you can predict and also the health costs you can’t predict. As for maternity care, the individual market is substantially improved by the Affordable Care Act. State and federal anti-discrimination protections insure that most women with employer-based health insurance receive maternity benefits. However, prior to the ACA, there were no federal requirements to provide maternity coverage in the individual insurance market.
Before the Affordable Care Act:
After the Affordable Care Act:
The ACA marks a tremendous step forward to correct longstanding problems in women’s health insurance coverage, most notably in the individual market—by now requiring maternity coverage.
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