As the rollout of health care law – also known as Obamacare – continues, recent news reports have focused on rate increases and the potential that health insurance premiums will be more expensive for some consumers. It’s true – some consumers may start paying more for health coverage purchased on the individual market (although, some who think they will pay more may be pleasantly surprised when subsidies and the details of the new plan are analyzed). But it’s also true that across the country women, in particular, will actually get a better deal because of the health care law. As our recent report Making Insurance Work highlights, the law ensures millions of individuals and families will have access to insurance that works for their budget and that premium dollars go towards high quality, affordable, and reliable health insurance.
Here are five reasons why women are getting a better deal:
Care when you need it: Before the health care law, women could be denied for pre-existing conditions like cancer, asthma, an old knee injury, or even pregnancy. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, up to 129 million non-elderly Americans have preexisting conditions, and 1 out of 5 are uninsured. Beginning in January, health insurance companies can no longer deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, so these millions of American who need care can get it.
Today marks the start of the open enrollment period for new health insurance options that are part of the health care law, also known as Obamacare. We’ve waited a long time for this day. The law passed three years ago and the National Women’s Law Center worked hard for the passage so we’re celebrating today as major step forward towards high-quality, affordable health insurance for all.
There’s a lot of confusing information out there, so we wanted to share some key information about what today really means and encourage you to join us in celebration. Read more »
Particularly, she thought it was unfair that men would have to buy a benefit package that will include services they’ll “never” use:
Pediatric Dental and Vision: I think Hasselbeck has a point here. Why should any adult have to get a plan with this service? Let those pesky kids pay for their own darn insurance… oh, wait. This is for adults to use who have dependent children. Well, then Hasselbeck’s point must be that men do not have kids? No, that can’t be right…
Some of the commentators in this news clip make the argument that women should pay more than men for the same health insurance. The argument goes something like this: women need things like mammograms, and pap tests, and their bodies are different, so they should pay more for health insurance.
Does that seem fair?
We did the research and the fact is that women are charged more for health coverage simply because they are women. In states that have not prohibited the practice of “gender rating” the vast majority of plans in the individual market charge women more. In fact, 92%, of best-selling plans in the individual market gender rate—for example, charging 40-year-old women more than 40-year-old men for coverage. Read more »
It’s pretty obvious that lower rates are good news for all New Yorkers, particularly women who have a harder time affording health care and are more likely than men to avoid needed health care services because of cost, but this news should also convince the House to vote down the effort to delay the individual responsibility provision. Read more »
Today House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released his vision for the next ten years. Despite having a section entitled "Fairness Restored," Ryan’s budget does anything but put forward a fair and equitable plan.
Repeal the Affordable Care Act, eliminating the Medicaid expansions critical for low-income families, tax credits to help moderate-income families purchase health insurance, help with the cost of prescription drugs in Medicare and preventive health care services (including contraceptive services), and protections against discriminatory insurance company practices.
Last week at a lunch with African advocates for women’s rights, we discussed pregnancy rates in Africa and the United States. Across the continents one thing remained constant—women have better outcomes when they are able to control their fertility. They enjoy greater freedom to pursue academic studies or careers, and to plan their lives as they see fit.
Opponents to birth control have made speeches decrying the rule, hosted conferences and brought lawsuit, after lawsuit, after lawsuit... Since the lawsuits have proved to be a publicity-gaining tool, we can anticipate many more. Read more »
Have you ever tried to compare health plans? It isn’t easy. Insurance companies design brochures to sell their plans. They have pictures of people holding hands, pushing a child on a swing, smiling in the doctor’s office and just being happy. They highlight everything that is great about the plan and, by the time you get to the chart summarizing the benefits, you would think this is the best insurance plan ever.
Then you look at another plan’s brochure that also makes the plan seem like the best insurance plan ever. But you try to compare the benefits and you aren’t really sure what you are comparing. The brochures use different terms and different formats. You can’t find a description of maternity coverage. You are trying to figure out how all the dollars and percentages add up to actual costs.
Starting today, things are different. That is because plans now have to provide all applicants and enrollees a standard Summary of Benefits and Coverage (called the SBC for short) and a uniform glossary. The Summary is simple to read, short, and provides a standard chart of benefits and coverage examples that every plan must use. The Glossary provides standard definitions of important health insurance terms that impact your coverage. Read more »
I cried a few times yesterday. Not bawling tears, but a few drops of relief. A few drops for those who have been standing up to fight for our health care. A few drops for my friends’ children who will grow up in a country that provides them with the resources they need to thrive. A few drops for the women whose lives will be saved by learning about a condition from a simple preventive service. A few drops for the uninsured who will finally have affordable coverage in 2014. And a few drops for myself.
The promises of the Affordable Care Act are safe for one more day. There are so many promises of the law. These are a just a few promises the law makes to me:
I will not be denied coverage for a preexisting condition.
I will have access to preventive services without copays or deductibles.
When I become eligible for Medicare (in many, many, many years), I will not have to worry about a gap in my prescription drug coverage.
My friends don’t need to worry that their young children will hit an annual or lifetime dollar limit on their insurance.
Yesterday was a very good day for women at the Supreme Court. The constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, was upheld, and its implementation will now continue. As a result, women will no longer be charged more than men for the same insurance; mammograms, Pap smears, contraception, and a host of other preventive services will be covered by insurance with no co-pay; women will no longer be denied insurance coverage because they are pregnant or have had a cesarean section or survived domestic violence; and millions more women will be covered by Medicaid. There is much to celebrate. But the Court's decision reveals that there are also important tasks ahead.
First, the Court held that states need not participate in the expansion of Medicaid as a condition of continuing to receive their current Medicaid funding. The ACA expanded Medicaid's coverage to reach all adults under 133 percent of the poverty level beginning in 2014. (Today the federal government only requires states to cover the disabled, the elderly, children, pregnant women, and parents.) Under the Court's ruling, states will have the option whether or not to provide that additional coverage. But there is much reason to be optimistic that all or nearly all states will do so. The federal government covers 100 percent of the costs of the Medicaid expansion for the first three years; it is in essence offering the states free money during that time. After that, the federal government's support will phase down — to only 90 percent of the costs of the expansion. By spending very little of their own money, states can ensure that those uninsured who are the poorest and most vulnerable — those least able to get insurance any other way — will receive health coverage. This should be an easy choice, but there is nevertheless work to be done to ensure that all states do the right thing and fulfill the promise of the ACA.
Second, while the result today was almost wholly good, the Court's opinion raised questions about how the Constitution will be interpreted in future cases. Read more »